GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation (GuideWell), the parent to a family of forward-thinking companies focused on transforming health care, in collaboration with XPRIZE, OpenCovidScreen, Anthem, Inc. and other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan partners, as well as other innovative organizations announced the $5 million XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition to accelerate the development of high-quality COVID-19 testing that is low cost, easy to use, and quick-reporting, paving the way for more frequent testing.
“The health and financial impacts of COVID-19 are widespread and have had a profound impact on everyone’s lives, especially those who are most vulnerable,” said Pat Geraghty, president and CEO of GuideWell. “Helping to identify and fast-track an affordable and innovative solution for rapid testing is critical to containing the virus, safely reopening our country and advancing our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health.”
Over a six-month period, the XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition will encourage the world’s most innovative individuals and organizations to develop new testing methods that embody four principles:
· Frequent: allowing for necessary testing at least weekly
· Fast turn-around: maximum 12 hours from sample to result
· Cost effective: an affordable price point for consumers
· Easy: the ability for self-collection
Having more affordable testing and obtaining results faster may help lead to more people being tested as well as better, data-driven contact tracing and isolating strategies.
“Fast, affordable, and accessible testing is crucial to containing the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopening schools, businesses and other vital institutions around the world,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition is inspiring the best entrepreneurs and scientists to form teams and come together to work towards rapid, affordable COVID-19 testing at scale, and ultimately, getting the world up and running again.”
Currently, most available COVID-19 tests take several days to obtain results, are expensive, invasive, and may be limited due to supply chain issues. XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing aims to meet the need to scale testing capabilities by 100-times past the current standard, the level of increase needed to more safely return to everyday activities.
Teams can compete in one of the following four categories: At Home, Point-of-Care, Distributed Lab, or Central Lab. To ensure supply chain diverse solutions, entries are encouraged in a variety of underlying testing approaches (PCR, Isothermal/LAMP/RPA, CRISPR, Antigen-detection, Next Generation Sequencing, and other technologies). Entries will be judged on overall innovation of solution, appropriate performance, turnaround time, scaling properties and frequency enabled, ease-of-use and cost of solution.
GuideWell is a founding partner of the coalition. Other founding partners include Blue Shield of California, Cambia Health Solutions, Inc., Health Care Service Corporation, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, Google Health, Ilumina, Amazon, Exact Sciences, Twist Biosciences, and Opentrons. Founding anchor partners of XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing are Anthem Foundation and Anthem, Inc.
“Innovation and collaboration are key to overcoming some of the most complex health care challenges, including the current health crisis,” said Camille Harrison, senior vice president & chief operating officer of GuideWell commercial markets and GuideWell Innovation. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with so many innovative organizations and bright minds to help bring rapid and wide-scale testing capabilities to market so we can overcome this crisis together.
” As a health solutions company, GuideWell has remained committed to giving back to the communities it serves. Since March, the company has invested over $7 million in community contributions to help provide access to testing and health care, food security and other essential needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, GuideWell launched a COVID-19 Health Innovation Collaborative, an initiative that seeks to connect diverse innovative health-technology companies across the country to bring forth solutions that address gaps in response to global health pandemics.Potential competitors, whether a team or an individual looking for a team, should click here to register, access all the resources available and read the competition guidelines. Registration ends August 31, 2020 with a $100 registration fee.