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Da Nang Trials Group Testing for Covid-19 to Save Resources

Facing a massive number of tests to be done among residents, Da Nang is exploring more cost-effective ways to do COVID-19 testing.

On August 4, Da Nang People’s Committee Chairman Huỳnh Đức Thơ confirmed that the city has approved group tests under a new method to expedite the COVID-19 testing process and ration testing reagents, reports Phap Luat.

Group testing, also known as pooled testing, allows labs to screen a small group of samples for the virus using one single test. Biological samples from a number of individuals are mixed together in one vial and tested at the same time, according to academic news site The Conversation. If the result is negative, technicians can move on to the next group; if it tests positive, then each sample is tested again separately — thus cutting down on the total number of tests.

In communities with low infection rates, pooled testing can vastly reduce the total number of tests, while in high-risk groups, more pools come back positive, requiring more tests to confirm their status.

Dr. Lê Thị Quỳnh Mai, deputy director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, told Tuoi Tre in an interview that between the two methods — individual and group testings — there’s no difference in result, only in time spent. Mai recommended the method for members of residential communities where there are confirmed cases, while suspected cases should be individually tested for the most straightforward results.

Dr. Tôn Thất Thạnh, director of the Da Nang CDC, said that the city will test between three and five cases at once. Since August 3, the city has expanded testing to inhabitants of neighborhoods with COVID-19 cases with an aim of eventually screening every Da Nang resident when resources allow.

[Photo via Bao Binh Phuoc]

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