Dr. Anthony Fauci said the White House is considering adopting a new coronavirus testing strategy that involves handling groups of people while using fewer resources, according to a report.
The top infectious disease expert told the Washington Post on Thursday that health officials are having “intense discussions” about the so-called “pool testing.”
The method involves testing samples from many people all together, allowing fewer resources to be used among large groups – and those who are infected could be more quickly isolated, the newspaper reported.
“Something’s not working,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said of the current approach. “I mean, you can do all the diagramming you want, but something is not working.”
Fauci, a member of the White House task force on the pandemic, added: “What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people in your society. And the only way you know that is by casting a broad net.”
Using the strategy, samples from, say, 20 people are combined into a single pool that undergoes a test. If it comes back negative, researchers know they can move on to another pool of samples. If it comes back positive, only then would each person be tested.
Pool testing would provide a better chance of finding asymptomatic people who may be quietly spreading the illness, the Washington Post reported.
“We now know the level of virus in an asymptomatic person is about the same as the level of virus in somebody who has symptoms,” Fauci told the paper. “So it’s like, oh my goodness, how do you address that?”
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