July 25, 2021

NIH-funded tool helps organizations plan COVID-19 testing

2 min read

An innovative online tool funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health, helps organizations choose a COVID-19 testing strategy that will work best for their specific needs.

The free, online COVID-19 Testing Impact Calculator can be used within organizations to model the costs and benefits of COVID-19 testing strategies.Christopher Harting, MIT

The COVID-19 Testing Impact Calculator is a free resource that shows how different approaches to testing and other mitigation measures, such as mask use, can curb the spread of the virus in any organization. It is the first online tool in the nation to provide schools and businesses with clear guidance on risk-reducing behaviors and testing to help them stay open safely.

A team led by the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, developed the tool to model the costs and benefits of COVID-19 testing strategies for individual organizations. The team developed their mathematical model and calculator as part of NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Tech program. The calculator is simple–a user enters a few specifics about their site and the tool produces customized scenarios for surveillance testing. The tool models four different COVID-19 testing methods, including onsite and lab-based, and calculates the number of people to test each day. It shows the estimated cost of each testing option and outlines the tradeoffs in the speed and accuracy of each kind of test.

“The NIH RADx initiative has enabled innovation and growth in the creation of new, rapid COVID-19 testing technologies,” said Bruce J. Tromberg, Ph.D., director of NIBIB and lead for the RADx Tech program. “Using this tool, school administrators and business owners can quickly evaluate the cost and performance of different tests to help find the best match for their unique organization.”

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