In mid-March of 2020, Broad converted part of our CLIA-certified lab into a high-throughput COVID-19 testing facility. Our team has steadily increased the pace and scale of diagnostic testing, while also developing test protocols that make them easier to administer and process. The testing facility processes samples obtained from nasal swabs, using an RT-PCR assay, and has an average turnaround time of less than 24 hours from the time tests arrive at our facility.
All this is being done at low cost, to make it as affordable as possible for the people and communities who need support. As the number of tests performed increases, we are able to bring down the cost-per-test even further.
We have organized our testing support around these areas of need:
Hospitals and clinics
We work with hospitals and clinics to provide regular and surge capacity for COVID-19 test processing. Health providers send SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Assay tests directly to Broad for rapid processing and return-of-results.
Nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and homeless shelters
In certain settings where individuals live in close quarters, it is critical to detect infections before there has been much opportunity for transmission. In these settings a healthcare provider may determine that individuals are at elevated risk and should therefore be tested regularly. We have partnered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to:
Provide ongoing screening of residents and staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, starting in Cambridge and now, across Massachusetts: more than 78,000 people so far in more than 440 different facilities.
Partner with Mass Senior Care in a weekly testing program for especially vulnerable populations in low-income senior housing in Chelsea, New Bedford, and parts of Boston.
Partners with the City of Cambridge and a local ambulance service (ProEMS) to provide free testing to residents at neighborhood mobile testing sites and homeless shelters, and provided tests at no cost for 776 medically-vulnerable individuals in 16 low-income housing complexes.
Broad has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the state’s “Stop the Spread” initiative, which supports free testing sites in regions across Massachusetts to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Higher education. Broad is supporting colleges and universities in Massachusetts and the surrounding area to enable regular viral screening for students, staff and faculty, including for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
Primary (K-12) education. Broad is supporting pooled testing programs for K-12 schools in Massachusetts, coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Public Health. These programs began in February, 2021 and are continuing for the 2021-2022 school year. DESE pairs participating schools with one of three organizations coordinating the pooled testing — CIC Health, Project Beacon, or Tufts University. These organizations send pooled testing kits to the schools, which collect the samples and ship them to a laboratory. Broad processes samples from schools partnered with the three organizations. Our K-12 pooled testing program first launched in collaboration with Tufts University, for an initial program focused on schools in Somerville and Medford.
Partnerships to support testing
Several organizations are working with Broad Institute to expand access to testing at scale. These organizations manage the logistics (such as creating contracts, support, site setup, scheduling, and return-of-results) and coordinate sending the samples back to Broad for processing. These organizations include:
Processing cost and turnaround time
Broad has been able to reduce test prices to between approximately $15 and $25 per test, after initially setting prices at approximately $50 when the program began in the spring of 2020. Broad has also shortened test turnaround times, using the same lessons around operational efficiency that have allowed the team at the Genomics Platform to help drive down the cost of genomic sequencing over time. Since March 2020, Broad has invested in new equipment and construction and has hired more than 200 people to convert our CLIA-certified lab into a high-throughput COVID-19 testing facility.
The facility provides results in approximately 24 hours or less from the time a sample is registered into our processing center. For current statistics, visit our dashboard.
Broad Institute does not offer direct COVID-19 testing for individuals. If you are seeking a COVID-19 test, please contact your healthcare provider. If you have been tested and are seeking a result, please click here.