Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said on Friday that the White House coronavirus task force “is seriously considering” joint testing of Covid-19.
The proposal is still under discussion and is not expected to be announced at the task force briefing later today, Fauci told CNN. Dr. Fauci first mentioned the discussions in an interview with The Washington Post published Friday morning.
“Something is not working,” Fauci said of the country’s current approach in an interview with The Post. “I mean, you can do whatever diagram you want, but something is not working.” “
Here is what “pool test” means: The strategy works by mixing multiple samples together in a “batch” or pool, then testing the pooled sample with a diagnostic test.
In this way, you can test a group of, for example, 25 people with one test rather than 25 separate diagnostic tests.
If the test is negative, you have eliminated 25 people with a test. If you get a positive result, you go back and test people individually.
Fauci’s comments come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended such a strategy earlier this month for companies seeking mass screening for coronavirus. And last month, local health officials in the Chinese city of Wuhan said they had successfully tested more than 9 million people using 6.6 million tests. The Chinese media reported that Wuhan used a pooled testing approach.
“What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people into your society,” Fauci told the Washington Post. “And the only way to find out is to throw a large net. “
Fauci also told The Post that high levels of asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus are forcing health experts to rethink how to approach mitigating the spread of Covid-19.
“We now know that the virus level in an asymptomatic person is about the same as the virus level in someone who has symptoms,” said Fauci. “So it’s like, oh my god, how do you approach this? “
Fauci told CNN that this is not a new policy, but that it is under study.