Public health experts agree on the need for accurate, inexpensive, and easy-to-use testing to execute the “Test-Trace-Isolate” strategy that will allow for a safer return to work and school plan. To spur the development of tests that can meet that need, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) joined a coalition of entities that have teamed up with XPRIZE and OpenCovidScreen to sponsor the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition offering $5 million in incentive prizes.
Over a six-month period, the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition will encourage the world’s most innovative individuals and organizations to develop new testing methods that embody four principles:
Testing Is Key to Return to Work and School
“Easy, accurate, and inexpensive tests that deliver results quickly will help employers and educators operate more safely and give New Jerseyans the peace of mind needed to return to their place of work or school,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, President and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. “Every day Horizon team members seek to help our members achieve their best health. We are focused on driving innovations that advance health care quality, affordability and the member experience. By supporting this contest, we’re helping support scientific advances that would protect our members and customers as they move towards resuming everyday activities in the communities where they live and work.”
Having more affordable testing and obtaining results faster may help lead to more people being tested as well as better, data-driven contact tracing and isolating strategies. Currently, most available COVID-19 tests take several days to obtain results, are expensive, invasive, and may be limited due to supply chain issues. XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing aims to meet the need to scale testing capabilities by 100-times past the current standard, the level of increase needed to more safely return to everyday activities.
Teams can compete in one of four categories: At Home, Point-of-Care, Distributed Lab, or Central Lab. To ensure supply chain diverse solutions, entries are encouraged in a variety of underlying testing approaches. Entrants will be required to clinically validate their tests before advancing to demonstrate supply-chain scalability and participating in on-site testing of at least 500 participants weekly.
Horizon BCBSNJ is a founding partner of the coalition along with six other Blue Cross Blue Shield partners: Anthem, Blue Shield of California, Cambia Health Solutions, Inc., Health Care Service Corporation, and Florida Blue, and BCBS of South Carolina. Supporting partners include Google Health and Amazon.
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