Pooled Testing

Pooled Testing is the combining of respiratory samples from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Pooling allows laboratories to test more samples with fewer testing materials and should be used only in areas or situations where the number of positive test results is expected to be low—for example in areas with a low prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections.  
If a pooled test result is NEGATIVE, then all the samples can be presumed negative with the single test. In other words, all of the people who provided samples can be assumed to test negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
If the pooled test result is Presumptive POSITIVE, each of the samples in the pool will need to be tested individually to determine which samples are positive. (Reflex Testing)
Broad Institute Pooled Testing Program includes:
  • Custom integration software to manage orders and results
  • Supplies and training materials
  • PCR reflex testing in the event of the first round of reflex antigen tests are all negative
  • Dedicated support throughout the process
In January 2021, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in partnership with Tufts University, CIC Health and Project Beacon, began processing pooled COVID-19 tests from students and staff at Massachusetts K-12 schools. The Broad’s Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP) is now processing pooled COVID-19 tests with an average turnaround time of about 24 hours for results. Between January and April, Broad processed 260,000 individual swabs from more than 50,600 pools from 582 schools, and this process is continuing. 
Broad is now pleased to be able to extend the choice of pooled testing to colleges and universities for the fall 2021 semester.