The XPRIZE Foundation has announced a $5 million competition aimed at accelerating the development of rapid COVID-19 testing that costs less than $15, produces results in under twelve hours, and uses minimally invasive sampling techniques.
Over three separate rounds, teams from around the world will compete to achieve clinical validation from labs in the United States before they begin real-time, on-site testing in schools, offices, nursing homes, factories, prisons, and other settings. The top five teams will win $1 million each, and upon conclusion of the competition XPRIZE and its partners will document the winning teams' testing protocols in a free, multimedia playbook that will be disseminated globally.
"Until an effective vaccine gets developed, the only way to safely and confidently reopen our communities is through testing that is frequent, fast, cheap, and easy-to-use. Developing this kind of testing at scale is crucial in the global effort to end the pandemic," the organization said in a statement on its website. "When we have this kind of testing disseminated to schools and businesses around the world, we can test people multiple times per week, catching pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases early, and only requiring those who are infected to quarantine themselves until they’ve recovered."