14:30 PM

A Competition Designed to Take COVID-19 Testing to the Next Level



Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey sponsors competition to create a better coronavirus testing program to inform safe reopening of schools and workplaces

By Thomas Vincz, Public Relations Manager

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, getting people safely back to work and school is proving to be a major challenge – one that requires a significantly improved, comprehensive testing program. 

That testing, part of the “Test-Trace-Isolate” strategy that has worked to contain the virus elsewhere, must be widely available, accurate, inexpensive, fast and easy to use. Tests available today meet one or two of those criteria, but none match the need.

The XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition sponsored in part by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) aims to attract the world’s brightest minds to increase existing COVID-19 testing capabilities a hundredfold. 

“Easy, accurate, and inexpensive tests that deliver results quickly will help employers and educators operate more safely and give New Jerseyans the peace of mind needed to return to their place of work or school,” said Gary D. St. Hilaire, President and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ. 

“Every day, Horizon team members help our members achieve their best health. We are focused on driving innovations that advance health care quality, affordability and the member experience. By supporting this contest, we’re helping support scientific advances that would protect our members and customers as they move towards resuming everyday activities in the communities where they live and work.” 

This $5 million, six-month competition was developed through a partnership between XPRIZE, a non-profit that addresses global challenges through crowdsourcing competitions, and OpenCovidScreen, a non-profit whose mission is to facilitate high-quality, low-cost COVID-19 screening/surveillance that maximizes self-reliance. The competition is the cornerstone of XPRIZE’s “Pandemic Alliance,” which includes 15 universities, 20 corporations and 10 NGOs – all of which are working to develop data-based solutions for the pandemic. 

Learn more about the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition.