Boston Biopharma. March, 2020.
COVID-19 is spreading at a rapid pace throughout the United States and Western Europe. Fragmented strategies of banning travel, social distancing, and quarantine have provided little avail in slowing the steep upward trajectory of daily exponential growth rates. Waiting for a vaccine to become available or for the majority of the population to develop herd immunity, characterized by 70-80% infected and recovered, are the pivotal turning points we strive for in the fight against COVID-19. With positive cases dispersed geographically throughout the world, completely stopping the infection is highly improbable. Efforts to slow transmission in an attempt to prevent overwhelm of our healthcare systems is the primary plan of action for developed countries. Finding a balance between our current methodology of testing, performed in the laboratory and rapid tests capable of producing real time results in the field, will allow for a broad spectrum COVID-19 testing. Current testing takes a few hours to be completed per sample, but backlogs of tests has shifted time estimates for results to a few days following initial sample collection. Additionally, shortages in testing kits has resulted in a formalized symptom-driven guidance as to which patients can be tested. Test kits are being rationed for those presenting with acute respiratory distress, fever, and associated severe clinical sequeale. Testing only those exhibiting substantial symptoms not only negatively skews overall infection rates, but prevents classification of asymptomatic individuals capable of transmitting the virus to the surrounding population without detection. As a means of augmenting the bottleneck of testing required to support largescale population testing, BB has developed a rapid test kit available for use by clinicians and medical staff. Finding alternative testing options that allow for rapid and on the spot results can allow Physicians to implement broad spectrum testing to individuals both asymptomatic and those actively exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19. Rapid tests for SARS-CoV-2 specific IgM and IgG using immunohistochemistry via whole blood, plasma, or serum sample analysis are currently in development. This rapid testing platform can be implemented for screening at border crossings, and pop-up medical testing facilities in order to screen mass numbers of potentially infected individuals. BB COVID-19 test kits applied will assist in decreasing the total morbidity and mortality suffered by society in this global pandemic. Flattening the curve using rapid clinical testing side by side with the current standard laboratory test can help to shape a new reality of hope that we are all desperately searching for.