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Group testing for efficient SARS-CoV-2 detection during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 4:30pm

Speaker:   Christopher Bilder, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Abstract:   Group testing involves testing individual items together as a combined group, rather than separately, to better understand each item. This process is used in numerous applications, including the screening of blood donations, the detection of sexually transmitted diseases, the discovery of chemical compounds for new pharmaceuticals, and the estimation of virus transmission rates from insects to plants. Applied in appropriate settings, group testing can greatly reduce associated testing costs and increase testing efficiency. This is why group testing has played an important role with increasing testing capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. My presentation examines the statistical and non-statistical aspects of group testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. I will explain how group testing is being used now and how it could be implemented better to maximize its impact.