New $5 million competition announced for developing rapid COVID-19 testing

A Health Care Worker seals a coronavirus swab after testing at the Pro Health Urgent Care coronavirus testing site on April 30, 2020 in Wantagh, New York.
(Image credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

Xprize has unveiled a new $5 million competition to encourage the development of rapid COVID-19 testing.

The non-profit organization on Tuesday announced the Xprize Rapid COVID Testing competition to "accelerate the development of high-quality COVID-19 testing that is low cost, easy to use, and fast-turnaround, enabling frequent testing." Xprize and OpenCovidScreen are asking the "world's brightest, most innovative minds" to get involved and develop new fast and affordable testing solutions that might help facilitate a safe return to school and work amid the pandemic, as other COVID-19 testing methods can take days to produce a result.

The submissions, Xprize says, can be in one of four categories including at-home and point-of-care testing, and entries will be judged on factors like innovation, performance, turnaround time, and cost. Five teams will ultimately be awarded $1 million each, and the maximum turnaround time is 12 hours, TechCrunch reports.

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"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,” Xprize CEO Anousheh Ansari said in a statement. "Xprize Rapid COVID Testing is inspiring the best entrepreneurial and scientific teams to come together to work towards rapid, affordable COVID-19 testing at scale, and ultimately, getting the world up and running again."

Xprize is asking teams to register for the competition by the end of August.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.