Tapestry: A Single-Round Smart Pooling Technique for COVID-19 Testing

Manoj Gopalkrishnan
Rahul Vaze
Tuesday, 26 May 2020, 14:00 to 15:00
A-201 (STCS Seminar Room)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has strained testing capabilities worldwide. There is an urgent need to find economical and scalable ways to test more people. We present Tapestry, a novel quantitative nonadaptive pooling scheme to test many samples using only a few tests. The underlying molecular diagnostic test is any real-time RT-PCR diagnostic panel approved for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In cases where most samples are negative for the virus, Tapestry accurately identifies the status of each individual sample with a single round of testing in fewer tests than simple two-round pooling. We also present a companion Android application BYOM Smart Testing which guides users through the pipetting steps required to perform the combinatorial pooling. The results of the pooled tests can be fed into the application to recover the status and estimated viral load for each individual sample.