OraSure Technologies has blazed a trail in at-home diagnostic tests. Now, the Pennsylvania-based biotech company is working to produce a quick, over-the-counter coronavirus test that consumers can take in the privacy of their home with results available in minutes. NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports.
The Los Angeles Lakers took home the NBA championship this week. But the close of the season also marked a big victory for the league itself. The NBA played its finals in a unique environment that came to be known as the bubble.
Players were frequently tested and social distancing was heavily enforced. And, the experiment worked. The NBA did not report a single positive coronavirus case from players or staff. Reporters Emma Court and Brandon Kochkodin describe how the league did it, and whether other organizations can replicate its success.
Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too. Research teams in Oregon are conducting real-time coronavirus tests on ventilation systems in buildings that could be essential for returning to the office or school.
- Plus, small businesses are facing an existential threat.
- And, in a rare move, the Trump administration rescinds a recent guideline that would have sent hundreds of thousands of international students packing.
Guests: Axios’ Joann Muller, Dion Rabouin, and Mike Allen.
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker, and Amy Maxmen discuss the role of antibody tests in controlling the pandemic, and how public-health spending could curtail an economic crisis. Also on the show, the open hardware community’s efforts to produce medical equipment.
In this episode:
02:08 Betting on antibodies
Antibody tests could play a key role in understanding how the virus has spread through populations, and in ending lockdowns. We discuss concerns over their reliability, how they could be used, and the tantalising possibility of immunity.
10:25 Economy vs public health, a false dichotomy
Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank, argues that strong investment in public health is crucial to halt the ongoing pandemic and to prevent a global financial crisis. We discuss his work with US governors to massively increase contact tracing, and his thoughts on how researchers can help steer political thinking.
19:00 One good thing this week
Our hosts talk about staying positive, and pick a few things that have made them smile in the last 7 days, including a tiny addition to the team, a newspaper produced by children in lockdown, and a gardening update.
22:51 Open hardware
Researchers are stepping up efforts to design and produce ventilators and personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff. We hear how the open hardware movement is aiding these efforts, and the regulations that teams need to consider if their designs are to make it into use.
To reopen the economy safely, experts estimate the U.S. will need to administer millions of tests every month.
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker, and Amy Maxmen discuss Trump withholding funds from the WHO, and how COVID-19 kills. We also hear about controlling misinformation while communicating risk.
In this episode:
01:15 Understanding bottlenecks
After listening to last week’s episode of Coronapod, researchers in the USA were inspired to start collecting data about the challenges facing labs carrying out testing. After more than 4,000 responses to their online survey, we discuss their goals.
03:08 A hole in the WHO’s funding
US President Donald Trump has announced plans to withhold funding for the WHO, pending a review of the organization’s handling of the pandemic. We discuss the decision and ask what it means for the global response to COVID-19.
05:55 Responding to the immune system
We investigate the role of the immune system in the death of COVID-19 patients and what this could mean for treatments. Could some therapeutics actually be undermining the body’s ability to fight the virus?
13:54 One good thing this week
Our hosts pick out things that have made them smile in the last 7 days, including seasonal memories from Sierra Leone, a trip to the supermarket, and the 99-year old war veteran who has raised millions for charity.
18:33 Communicating complex data
Clearly communicating risks and evidence is key for governments and other organisations if they are to best inform the public during the pandemic. But what is the best way to do it? We hear the methods that communications experts and behavioural scientists recommend to keep the public informed, and keep misinformation at bay.
Rupert Beale talks again to Thomas Jones about his work at the Francis Crick Institute, where he’s helping to set up a testing lab for Covid-19.
He talks about the challenges of creating a scalable process, explains why a successful antibody test could be hard to achieve, and finds some reasons to be hopeful.
You can find a full transcript of this episode HERE.
As coronavirus spreads across the world, countries are setting up drive-through clinics to make it easier for their citizens to get tested. WSJ’s Andrew Jeong visited a test site in South Korea to see how it works.
Dr. Matthew Binnicker oversees Mayo Clinic’s laboratory response in developing a test to detect COVID-19 in clinical samples. A process that usually takes six months to a year, was accomplished in under a month, thanks to a dedicated team working around the clock. The test should help ease the burden currently being felt at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and state health labs. That will also mean faster turnaround times for results. Patients can expect results within 24 hours of when samples are collected and sent to Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Initially, Dr. Binnicker says the laboratory has the capacity to run between 200-300 tests daily. Additional equipment has been ordered to double that capacity in the coming weeks.
More health and medical news on the Mayo Clinic News Network. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/