Abstract / Description of output
with low viral load in the sampled region at the time of the test . Likewise, minimising the number of tests to reduce costs must be balanced against minimising the time testing takes to reduce the spread of infection. Here we propose an algorithm for pooling subsamples based on the geometry of a hypercube that, at low prevalence, accurately identifes infected individuals
in a small number of tests and rounds of testing. We discuss the optimal group size and explain why, given the highly infectious nature of the disease, largely parallel searches are preferred. We report proof of concept experiments in which a positive subsample was detected even when diluted 100-fold with negative subsamples (cf. 30-fold to 48-fold dilution in Refs. [9-11]). We quantify the loss of sensitivity due to dilution and discuss how it may be mitigated by frequent re-testing of groups, for example. With the use of these methods, the cost of mass testing could be reduced by a large factor which, furthermore, increases as
the prevalence falls. Field trials of our approach are under way in Rwanda and South Africa. The use of group testing on a massive scale to closely and continually monitor infection in a population, along with rapid and effective isolation of infected people, provides a promising pathway to the longterm control of COVID-19.