The Biomedical Technician Rapid Response Team (BTRRT) is a coalition of volunteer professional scientists that are eager to mobilize and use their laboratory training to help increase community testing for the COVID-19 pandemic and in anticipation of other biomedical emergency situations that threaten public health.
We propose to bring widespread and accessible community testing directly to the people through the deployment of mobile medical units into the community that will collect samples and bring them back to our laboratory for testing.
Our goal is to bring testing to everyone in NYC, regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, income level, neighborhood of residence, employment status or citizenship status.
You can read about our organizing efforts here in Nature News.
We plan to travel in mobile testing units, collect samples from pre-identified COVID-19 “hot spots” in NYC, and bring them back to our lab for testing. We will perform both diagnostic and antibody tests using a pooled testing method. Pooling samples into a single reaction will afford us the ability to retest with minimal time and money spent on supplies and maximize the amount of people reached at a time. All in all, this system will help people to stay at home and increase testing access for those who cannot reach hospitals or healthcare centers.
We have obtained a lab space at the SUNY Downstate Incubator within Mirimus Inc.'s laboratory space to be fully staffed, run and operated by our team of 200+ volunteer Ph.D scientists and graduate students, completely pro bono.
Currently, we are in the initial phase of piloting our pooled testing method. We are looking to find the maximum number of saliva samples that can be combined into a single test while still being able to detect one positive case. These proof-of-concept experiments are crucial to developing a scalable and reliable system of mass surveillance testing.
Our growing list of over 200 volunteers represents universities and medical campuses such as: Mount Sinai Hospital, Columbia University, Weill-Cornell, NYU, Rockefeller University, University of Buffalo, Cornell University, Albany Medical College, SUNY at Buffalo, CUNY Queens and includes education levels ranging from undergraduates to PhD and MD/PhD level scientists.
Currently, we have placed ~20 volunteers throughout NYC while we work towards opening our lab. Some of our volunteers are currently working on pilot experiments at our pop-up lab, while others have been deployed at active testing centers and blood banks throughout NYC.
What we need:
We started this page to gather funds that will help to offset reagent and equipment cost to perform COVID-19 testing in our laboratory. Now that we have a lab space and are working towards deploying hundreds of volunteers into the field, monetary donations will also provide safe travel to and from work, meals, and personal protective equipment for our staff.
We will need a number of supplies and you can see an example here .
We are also accepting donations of consumables, PPE and equipment-for-borrow. If you have any available please visit survey here.
We are looking for assistance in testing, experiments, mobile sampling, app development, and administrative tasks. If you are a scientific professional looking to volunteer please fill out our skills survey here.
If you would like to donate directly via paypal please click here. Science Demands Action is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is diverting all donations to this cause.
For questions/comments/more info please contact Dr. Nadia Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit our website at https://www.sciencedemandsaction.org/btrrt