XPrize launches $5-million competition for a cheap, rapid COVID-19 tests
Further expanding the scope of its international competitions designed to solve global problems through technology, XPrize has launched a contest to develop new and improved testing methods for COVID-19. With millions of dollars of prize money up for grabs, the contest aims to usher in new technologies that allow for cheap, wide-spread testing with rapid results.
The XPrize Rapid Covid Testing competition is being held in collaboration with OpenCovidScreen, a non-profit organization working to improve testing technologies for the virus. The way these two see it, current testing for COVID-19 is expensive, invasive and slow, and is incompatible with the idea of reopening sections of society while the virus continues to circulate.
“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 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.”
The competition involves US$5 million in prize money and is open to entrants all around the world. The winning teams will demonstrate COVID-19 tests that are “radically affordable” compared to today’s, and must be able to produce results from a sample within 12 hours. The sampling methods must be minimally invasive and cost less than $15 per test.
“We’re excited to collaborate with XPRIZE and a committed group of partners who want to make a difference by innovating and building the Covid testing capability we need to safely return to work and school,” says Jeff Huber, President & Co-Founder of OpenCovidScreen. “We need solutions that are frequent, fast turnaround, cheap, and easy, and that are supply chain diverse. There is near infinite need and demand at the right price. We need screening testing capabilities 100-times greater than our current status to return our economy and society to normal function.”
The winning teams will also need to deploy their technologies and carry out a minimum of 500 tests per week at a live testing site within 60 days. Registrations are open until August 31,2020, with the competition scheduled to take six months.
You can check out the launch video below.