Over the last couple of months, Duke University students have been gradually returning to the campus in North Carolina. To keep them and the wider community safe from COVID-19, dozens of Duke’s faculty, researchers and staff jointly designed a novel surveillance testing strategy. To rapidly identify and isolate infected individuals, the team has turned to pool testing.
Each pool test combines nasal samples from five people in a single test. This way, the team can screen 120 samples in just 15 minutes. This is fast enough to keep up with testing demands and uses fewer resources. If a pool test comes back positive, the team will test the remainder of the five individuals' samples from the pool separately to pinpoint who needs to be isolated.
The researchers will also use the surveillance data to study how the virus spreads on campus and search for potential hotspots.
Learn more about this effort at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute website.