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Saving Lives 8 Tests at a Time.
Hadassah Provides Hands-on Support for “Pooled Testing” for COVID-19 in Central and South America.
Under the auspices of Hadassah International, Prof. Dana Wolf, head of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), has reached out to Central and South America, teaching those responsible for handling the COVID-19 epidemic in institutions for the elderly how to implement the groundbreaking “Pooled Testing” technique for COVID-19 that was created and is now being used at the Hadassah Hospitals.
Sixty researchers, heads of testing laboratories, directors of hospitals and old age homes, Government officials, and leaders of the Jewish communities that are dealing with Covid-19 in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico, participated in a virtual meeting to learn how to adapt this critical technique in their own countries.
Hadassah is assisting the global network of hospitals and communities fighting COVID-19 and providing critical help to save lives.
Around the world, nursing homes and other facilities for the aged are being ravished by COVID-19. Their populations are being decimated as people with asymptomatic COVID-19 infect others, creating a wave of unstoppable infection.
The difference between life and death in these institutions is testing for the virus to identify and isolate those who are infected. However, testing is very expensive, and many institutions for the aged have limited financial resources. A relatively inexpensive way to test for COVID-19 is critical.
Hadassah’s Prof. Dana Wolf has developed an innovative technique to increase the number of accurate COVID-19 tests and reduce the cost dramatically. She is now teaching these institutions in Central and South America how to implement “Pooled Testing.” She has also provided a video to show how the laboratory processing of the test is implemented.
This “Pooled Testing” technique takes the COVID-19 test sample from 8 different people and pools them together into one test tube. In this way, 8 tests can be done for the price of one. It also means that many more samples can be tested each day.
If the test comes back negative, then all 8 individuals are free of COVID-19. If a test does come back positive, then the samples from the 8 individuals can be tested again separately to determine who is positive.
Usually, COVID-19 PRC tests are done in plates of 90 tests per round. This means that for the same time and cost of conducting 90 tests, you can actually do 720 tests. This method is particularly effective in testing a population where large numbers of negative tests are expected.
Using this technique has enabled Hadassah to increase its testing capability dramatically, to the point where it can now do up to 2,500 tests a day. Hadassah does over 20% of the testing for Israel.
Professor Wolf’s advice to the participants is to “Adapt whatever reagents and equipment you have available locally to do these tests. Do not rely on the commercially available ‘test kits’, they are too expensive. Do your own quality control to make sure that your tests work reliably.”
She added that “Every day we learn something new about this virus. We are stronger when we can all share everything we have learned.”
Watch here the webinar:
Hadassah’s Global network assisting the Hadassah Hospitals
Hadassah, while continuing to save lives in this current wave of the pandemic is preparing for the next wave of COVID-19 that is expected in the fall and winter.
For more information about the Hadassah International crisis response TOGETHER WE LIVE, please go to https://hadassah-global-response.org/.