Impact of Pool Testing in Detection of Asymptomatic Patients With COVID-19

David L. Smalley, PhD; Patricia M. Cisarik, OD, PhD; James Grantham; William Cloud, MD; R. Brock Neil, PhD; Paul DePriest, MD


Lab Med. 2021;52(1):e15-e16. 

In This Article


During a pandemic, the reduced availability of testing reagents and the need to provide testing to a large population necessitate the consideration of pooled testing. The results of this study support the assertion of Cherif et al[2] that a pooled approach is more than adequate for COVID-19 testing when individual specimen testing capacity is limited. With pooled testing, however, care must be taken to avoid false negative results incident to overdilution. In addition, a major concern for any type of population testing is how the prevalence of disease in a local region may impact the efficacy of the testing methodology. For example, testing a population with a low prevalence of infection may miss asymptomatic carriers, allowing the wider proliferation of the virus.