Will Algorithms Be The Key to Mass Testing? Ask Israeli Scientists!


Algorithms may just be the answer to all of our prayers. An algorithm, something mathematical, can now be used to makes Corona Virus testing easier. Hopefully, by October, we will no longer need to suffer through extended waiting times for Covid 19 test results. That is when the new method developed in Israel which allows for the testing of up to 48 samples at the same time will be ready, this according to a recent report in the New York Times.

Dr. Nom Shental, who holds a PhD in computational neuroscience from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and serves as head of Israel’s Open University in Raanana’s Computer Science Division, helped to develop the algorithm called P Best. Tomar Hertz and Angel Porgador of the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva also worked on the project.

Algorithms. Don’t ask me what they are exactly. When we got up to that stuff in high school math just by sheer coincidence happened to coincide to when I lost interest in math. I think it has something to do with predicting outcomes. I also never remember how to spell the word algorithym. See.

The biggest problem that we have now comes from the discovery that as many as ten to thirty percent of all Covid Virus carries are asymptomatic and can still transmit the virus through their breath, even if they are not coughing and wheezing. That’s why we all need to wear masks in public now and so many public facilities and gatherings remain closed.
As much as this new way of speeding up the testing is needed right now we should be grateful if it ever becomes available. Colleges are starting up again for their fall semesters and are already having problems because of the corona virus. Some schools are only letting the freshman stay at the school while having all classes on line. They have had to cancel all types of events such as intramural sports and team sports because of the virus. With bulk testing they could start to let whole groups into campus together who have been screened and just prohibit leaving campus for the year or a semester.

This will hopefully cut down on the costs of testing.

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Professor. Angel Porgador, Ben Gurion University Deputy Vice President of research and development stated that, “approximately 10-30% of COVID-19 infected patients are asymptomatic and significant viral spread can occur days before symptom onset. Until there is a vaccine, there will be an urgent need to increase diagnostic testing capabilities to allow for screening of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic populations. This new single stage diagnostic test will help prevent the spread of the disease by identifying these patients sooner and at a lower cost using significantly fewer tests.”

Dr. Noam Shental added, ” P-BEST can be configured on the basis of the carrier rate. The lower the carrier rate, the higher efficiency. Our pooling method has been tested using an advanced liquid-handling robotic system that can perform the task in an hour and can be performed in a typical clinical diagnostic laboratory anywhere in the world.”

The full study has been published in Science Advances.

Meanwhile the Trump Administration is relaxing FDA restrictions on the types of laboratory tests which the agency allows. The New York Times further reported that President Trump instructed the Food and Drug Administration to accept new guidelines; even though, they do not meet the standards of the medical community.

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