US scientists develop new online tool for Covid-19 testing

8 December 2020 (Last Updated December 8th, 2020 10:30)

Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, US, have developed an online tool that can support organisations in choosing a Covid-19 testing strategy that fits their needs.

US scientists develop new online tool for Covid-19 testing
The free, online Covid-19 Testing Impact Calculator can be used within organisations to model the costs and benefits of Covid-19 testing strategies. Credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.

Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, US, have developed an online tool that can support organisations in choosing a Covid-19 testing strategy that fits their needs.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) unit National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), the Covid-19 Testing Impact Calculator is a free resource that shows how various approaches to testing and other mitigation measures can curb virus spread in an organisation.

Schools and businesses can receive appropriate guidance on risk-reducing actions and testing with the help of the new tool to remain open safely.

The calculator was developed to model the costs and benefits of Covid-19 testing strategies for individual organisations as part of NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Tech programme.

When a user enters a few specifics about their site, the calculator generates tailored scenarios for surveillance testing.

By modelling four Covid-19 testing methods such as onsite and lab-based, the tool calculates the number of individuals to test on a daily basis.

It also provides the estimated cost of each testing option and mentions the tradeoffs in the speed and accuracy of each test.

NIBIB director and RADx Tech programme lead Bruce Tromberg said: “The NIH RADx initiative has enabled innovation and growth in the creation of new, rapid Covid-19 testing technologies.

“Using this tool, school administrators and business owners can quickly evaluate the cost and performance of different tests to help find the best match for their unique organisation.”

Apart from testing to stop the spread, Covid-19 Testing Impact Calculator shows how other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended countermeasures such as mask use, contact tracing, and social distancing can work well to provide safety.