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Private Sector Joins Together to Reopen U.S. Economy with Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Innovative Canadian Rapid Testing Model Expands into the U.S.; Initial Cohort of 12 U.S. Companies Plans Return-to-Office Strategies Using Rapid Testing and Proven Screening Protocols

In an effort to help safely and effectively reopen the U.S. economy faster during the COVID-19 pandemic, three prominent organizations have come together to launch the U.S. Rapid Action Consortium, a system designed to accelerate the use of safe, cost-effective rapid COVID-19 testing to better enable businesses to return to the office safely. Built off the highly successful Canadian model, the U.S. expansion will be led by the Creative Destruction Lab Rapid Screening Consortium (CDL RSC), Genpact and the COVID Collaborative.

“For infected people, COVID-19 is a serious health problem. However, the vast majority of people are not infected. So, for most people, COVID-19 is not a health problem, it’s an information problem,” said Ajay Agrawal, founder, Creative Destruction Lab; professor, Rotman School of Management. “In many regions, about one out of every thousand asymptomatic people is infected. So, it’s an information problem because in the absence of the information about who the infected person is, we treat all people as if they could be infected. That has shut down significant parts of the economy and is costing society a great deal. Rapid testing is the best solution to the information problem that we’re aware of.”

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Founded on the belief that the private sector is and must be a powerful part of the overall solution to end the pandemic, the Consortium brings together leading academics, scientists, organizations, and businesses to create an accelerating force in the fight against COVID-19. Rooted in science and informed by research, the Consortium and its participating companies are building, deploying, and sharing testing protocols related to rapid COVID-19 testing in workplaces across the country. The Consortium will offer all learnings and approaches as a public good to organizations, large and small.

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“Extraordinary challenges call for extraordinary actions. With a diverse ecosystem of businesses and organizations united under a common purpose, we can enable the levels of collaboration, co-innovation and information sharing needed to drive rapid testing at scale,” said Tiger Tyagarajan, chief executive officer, Genpact. “We are proud to do our part in helping to safely reopen our workplaces and the economy. Leveraging our deep process expertise and our advanced analytics, coupled with leading insights, frameworks, and perspectives of our partners and participating companies, we can act quickly and decisively to drive much needed progress.”

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The U.S. Rapid Action Consortium is an expansion of the successful CDL RSC work done in Canada.  The Consortium is leveraging thousands of hours of research, vast quantities of data, and insights from the thousands of rapid tests conducted in more than 40 workplace testing sites across Canada, enabling it to move quickly and aggressively in making rapid testing available and accessible at scale in workplaces across the country.

“COVID-19 employee testing still is not widely used or available for many companies across the U.S. today. With millions of lives impacted and billions of dollars being lost in economic activity each week, it is critical for companies to have a systematic approach to rapid testing,” said Dr. Steven Phillips, vice president, Science and Strategy, The COVID Collaborative. “The need for business-centric rapid screening systems is essential to a healthy economy.  It will accelerate progress toward reaching herd immunity, even as vaccination rates increase. Scientists are still determining to what extent vaccinated individuals may still be infectious and are learning about the durability of immunity provided by the vaccines. In the current environment rapid screening systems are the business sector’s most important intervention to return to safe, sustainable operations.”

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