COVID 19 Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has ruined countless lives - physically, emotionally, and economically. Global confirmed cases have passed 1 million, with approximately 20% severe cases and 2% deaths. Combined with the ease of spread from person to person, urgent solutions are necessary to diagnose infected and asymptomatic individuals early and to reduce community spread.
We are doctors and scientists supporting the efforts of Dr. Marty Romeo at the Medical University of South Carolina to validate and advance a highly sensitive method of COVID-19 testing: Droplet Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (DDPCR). This test is superior to the standard method of RT-PCR because it will improve detection of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
We are asking you - our community of civilians, scientists and healthcare workers alike - for financial support to help us validate the performance of DDPCR. Specifically, the money raised will help us get the reagents, RNA samples and testing equipment in the academic laboratory of Dr. Romeo. Upon receiving the funds, Dr. Romeo and his team will need approximately 2 to 3 days to complete the validation.
Success for us will be the validation of DDPCR method and consequent adoption from other labs for effective, massive clinical testing. This will help us achieve our goal of reducing uncertainty around who is infected, creating zones of safety, and protecting our vulnerable populations.
The sooner we reach our funding goal, the sooner we can validate the test, the sooner this test can be brought to your community.
Why are we validating and advancing DDPCR over standard RT-PCR?
1. DDPCR can be used to directly quantify and clonally amplify DNA. By doing so, target sequences can be accurately quantified, and rare targets (low viral load specimens) can be detected whereas by current RT-PCR methods, they cannot.
This means that the DDPCR method is a more sensitive test and can reduce the rate of false negatives, e.g. detect asymptomatic individuals who would otherwise test negatively for the virus.
2. DDPCR's ability to test for asymptomatic individuals with low viral loads means that we will be able to detect COVID-19 cases earlier in our communities and rapidly isolate infected individuals to prevent community spread.
3. Finally, DDPCR enables pooling of hundreds of individual samples for bulk testing (vs. RT-PCR using a divide-and-conquer strategy of only testing positive pools).
This means that DDPCR will be useful in communities with low prevalence of COVID-19.
It also means we can apply better testing methods to vulnerable populations like prisons and nursing facilities.
We have shared Dr. Romeo's full report and justification for funding DDPCR if you would like more details. Thank you.
~~~ Please, support our effort to get this important test validated and in the hands of other labs and clinicians today. ~~~