Unlocking mass screening for infectious disease
The molecular testing landscape has been permanently changed due to the pandemic. Mass COVID testing has finally gained traction in the U.S. The Biden Administration sees testing as a central strategy as the vaccines roll out, with the American Rescue Plan allocating $50B for testing. The first $10B of this was distributed in early April specifically for schools to implement screening programs to support safe reopening for in person learning.
FloodLAMP is well positioned to help in this effort. We are a public benefit corporation advancing public health with ultra low cost, open-source, widely accessible molecular testing. FloodLAMP has developed key innovations in testing program administration, the underlying tests themselves, and the test supply chain. FloodLAMP recently submitted 2 game-changing SARS-CoV-2 tests to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. With these tests FloodLAMP will spread to thousands of sites throughout the country for rapid and decentralized community COVID-19 testing. Post-COVID, we plan to leverage the capacity and expertise gained during the current pandemic to bring open source diagnostics to all areas of molecular testing worldwide.
FloodLAMP’s innovative solutions span testing, processing, and reporting:
Tests: The first 2 FloodLAMP tests are streamlined molecular assays that are highly optimized for mass screening. The flagship FloodLAMP QuickColorTM COVID-19 Test uses a colorimetric LAMP amplification that is visually read by a simple color change, with sample to answer in 45min. Crucially, it requires no instrumentation and only moderate training as the reactions run on a simple heater. This ground-breaking test broadly opens up access to a new class of molecular diagnostics.
Screening Program: FloodLAMP has pioneered up-front sample pooling. This dramatically improves efficiency over lab-based pooling, reducing costs and greatly increasing throughput. Our primary program modes include on-site pooling of students in a classroom, or workers at an office, or at-home “family” pooling. Testing everyone in a household at once greatly increases the ability to detect infections early, offering even greater protection for a group setting, such as a school or office. Further, this brings testing to an entire community while simultaneously slashing transportation costs, which can be a significant fraction of overall test cost. At FloodLAMP, we are optimizing and engineering every aspect of our programs to be both effective and to immediately scale.
Digital Tools: The FloodLAMP App has been designed in an integrated way over 6 months with both the tests and screening program. Launched in the Apple App Store in February 2021, it has been in constant use in our pilot program. The app allows immediate user onboarding and supports both individual (personal) use and group implementations. The app also includes streamlined process tracking and participant reporting, providing an end-to-end digital solution for FloodLAMP screening programs.
Open Source and Supply Chain: FloodLAMP’s key strategy for maximizing both public health impact and business growth is to jettison the industry standard’s closed, proprietary tests and equipment. Instead, we are fully validating tests through the FDA that utilize off the shelf chemicals and reagents. This approach brings the large manufacturing capacity of suppliers directly online, creating redundancy and reliability in our supply chain.
Open, generic molecular testing is a life-saving public good, having far-reaching positive impacts in diagnostics and healthcare more broadly. Specifically, the approach decreases the test cost and greatly improves access. We believe COVID-19 has permanently changed the public and private sectors views on the role of disease testing in public health. FloodLAMP is building the low-cost, scalable infrastructure needed for a future where molecular testing will be much more broadly implemented.