Health officials look to pool testing as new approach to trace coronavirus

(CNN) - Record levels of COVID-19 cases are being reported across the U.S., and officials are determining what is and isn’t working, in terms of testing.

Experts are now considering a new approach: pool testing.

Many say it’s the necessary next step in testing and tracing the novel coronavirus.

“Instead of taking an individual blood and nasal sample from somebody, you take a whole bunch of them and put them together and run a test on that whole batch,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja. “And if it’s negative, all those are clear. And if it’s positive, you go back and individually test those to see who is positive.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued recommendations for this testing strategy earlier this month as companies and schools look to have mass screenings.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the White House coronavirus task force is seriously considering this.

“Something’s not working. I mean, you can do all the diagramming you want, but something is not working,” Fauci told the Washington Post. “What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people in your society. And the only way you know that is by casting a broad net.”

Fellow task force member Dr. Deborah Birx agrees and says pool testing is what is needed to get the testing numbers where they need to be. Birx hopes this would eventually help people get back to their lives faster.

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