Seattle may soon have a Bill Gates-funded at-home coronavirus test

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Going to the doctor to get tested risks spreading the virus. Building off work they’ve funded to create an at-home flu test, the Gates Foundation and the Seattle Flu study are trying to make it work for coronavirus, as well. In the Seattle area, where dozens of people have tested positive for the new coronavirus and hundreds more may be infected and not know it, a new project funded by Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation could soon begin rolling out test kits that people can use at home. Read Full Story

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This clever COVID-19 testing technique could help send kids back to school safely

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Companies are now developing pooled testing as a way of detecting coronavirus’s presence in a community earlier. The U.S. has conducted some 52 million COVID-19 tests, but it’s still not enough. Many epidemiologists believe that broadly testing people with or without symptoms is the way to root out cases of COVID-19 and develop better strategies for curbing the spread of the disease. To do that, public health experts are now discussing a technique called pooled testing—testing a batch of human samples together for COVID-19. Read Full Story

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This Bill Gates-backed program in Seattle is sending at-home COVID tests to anyone who wants one

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The Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network is trying to get a true sense of the spread of infection among asymptomatic people without forcing people to expose healthcare workers or themselves. Coronavirus testing in the U.S. still lags behind other countries, and most of the tests that happen now go to those with symptoms—so we still have little sense of how many people are truly infected. (By some estimates, as many as 50% of those with COVID-19 may not have symptoms, and many others with mild symptoms are also unlikely to be tested.) Read Full Story

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This medical test startup may soon have approval for a home test for COVID-19

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Scanwell Health—a winner of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—is helping to enable a switch to telehealth that’s not only doctor consultation, but testing as well. And it couldn’t be coming at a more important moment. If it gets approval from the FDA, a new test will make it possible to test to see if you’ve ever had COVID-19, without leaving your house. Using just a drop of blood from your finger and two drops of solution in the test kit. The results show up in 15 minutes. The test, which looks for antibodies and was widely used by Chinese doctors, isn’t as accurate as molecular tests that use complex lab equipment. But it could play an important role in monitoring and preventing the spread of the disease. Read Full Story

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A 5-cent sensor could detect the coronavirus in 10 minutes at home

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It’s still a way off, but a feasible, fast, at-home SARS-CoV-2 test is on the horizon. One of the hardest parts of controlling COVID-19 is that it’s very difficult to know if you or someone you know is carrying it asymptomatically. So you might let your guard down, spend time in close proximity to someone else, and help it spread. Testing is useful to curb this issue, but the wait on a test result can still take days . So it’s difficult to say for sure, at any given moment, if you actually have COVID-19 or not. Read Full Story

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Don’t buy a DIY coronavirus test that you can take at home

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Last week, several companies announced they would launch home testing for COVID-19. After the FDA said the tests weren’t authorized, many have been forced to pull their products. Last week, several direct-to-consumer health companies announced they would start selling do-it-yourself, home-based coronavirus tests. But the Food and Drug Administration made it clear that these “fraudulent test kits” were not authorized, forcing home test makers to change their plans. Read Full Story

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Can’t go to the doctor? You already own a powerful medical device

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With high-risk groups asked to stay home due to coronavirus, more people can turn to their smartphones to diagnose medical problems. During the coronavirus pandemic, our smartphones have become a lifeline, keeping us connected, informed, sane, employed, and socially distant. But they are also emerging as necessary tools to keep us safe and healthy. Smartphones’ cameras and sensors are increasingly turning them into fast, accurate, and low-cost devices for medical diagnosis—without their users ever needing to leave home. Read Full Story

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COVID-19 vaccine trials are being undermined by a lack of diversity

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To make sure a vaccine works for everyone, everyone needs to be in the trials. At least 10 COVID-19 vaccines are currently in the final phase of their trials, where the vaccine is given to thousands of people to test its safety and efficacy. But as the quest for a coronavirus vaccine continues, experts say there’s still an issue with how diverse these trials are, which could impact how effective a vaccine is for everyone. Read Full Story

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Citizen journalists are documenting COVID in the world’s conflict zones to stop disinformation

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In conflict zones, fake news is rife. A new project uses citizen journalists to report vital coronavirus stories and technology to help identify misleading sources of information. Before the pandemic even hit, 2.8 million Syrians were in need of humanitarian need in Idlib, the current epicenter of the Syrian humanitarian crisis. But, the onset of coronavirus could be catastrophic a country already in a deep humanitarian crisis. In June, it was reported that , in Idlib, there was approximately one doctor per 6,800 people, and one intensive-care bed per 20,000 people. As of June 14, only 177 people in the whole country had tested positive, indicating a severe scarcity of tests. And there’s a shortage of ventilators, with only 100 in Idlib’s health clinics. Read Full Story

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