PCR Pooling

PCR Pooling is a tool to enable COVID-19 mass testing

Our software improves the throughput by up to 8x of rtPCR tests by providing instructions on how to mix multiple patient samples and using combinatorics to quickly identify the infected patients in a large batch

Increase your current testing capacity by up to 8x with no new hardware or materials

Test patients in pools

Rather than testing patient samples independently, PCR Pooling provides lab technicians with a protocol detailing how to mix patient samples into pools. Testing the pools (instead of patients independently) makes it possible to quickly and reliably infer which patients are healthy and infected, using mathematical tools.

The conventional method of independent sample screening creates a bottleneck where samples are queued until a well (or slot) in a PCR machine becomes available. PCR Pooling widens this bottleneck through informed mixing of patient samples into pools.

Pooling Introduction

Case Study: Denmark

Denmark recently tested 12,000 patients per day

With PCR Pooling they could test 69,000 patients using the same resources

or save USD 300,000 per day

Data from Our World In Data. A moving average of 6 days applied. Test cost @ $30

Get Customized Estimates


There are a number of advantages to pooling samples, some of them are:

  • Higher throughput: we can test ~8x as many patients with the same resources
  • You have all you need: it does not require any new equipment, reagents or prep methods
  • Faster diagnosis for most: most people diagnose faster (on average).
  • Uses less reagent than the traditional method (fewer PCR runs and wells used to diagnosis)
  • Easy to use: just visit a website with instructions


This protocol works best when two conditions are fulfilled:

  • The probability of a patient testing positive is small, i.e. less than approximately 25%. Beyond that number, this process will introduce a large amount of variability for little gain. If the probability is small however, ~5%, this protocol can be over 8x as effective as the standard method.
  • The number of patients to test are large. The method will significantly increase the throughput of one PCR machine, but only if the number of patients greatly exceeds the number of PCR wells that are available at a time.

Try it now

Use our demo to explore how it works directly in your web browser


Built-in Error Mitigation

False results are mitigated in software

Sensitive and Specific Tests

Desired Sensitivity and specificity is configurable

Bayesian statistics are used to classify samples only once the desired accuracy is reached.

Automatic Replicates

Replicates are dynamically run to reach desired specificity

Errors are tracked for each sample and replicated if necessary

Positive and Negative Controls

A customizable number of positive and negative controls

Controls can be randomised, or in a dedicated well

Integrates with Existing Lab Processes

Liquid Handling Robot Support

Suppport for many robot file formats

Manual input supported with printable protocols

Programmatic Results Input

Support for standard rt-PCR file outputs

Manual override available at all steps

Add New Samples at Any Time

Samples can be added even after the experiment has started

The software will prioritise older samples to reduce latency

Take a look at the deck below for a detailed walkthrough

Get in Touch

Please get in touch if you are interested in using this process, have any questions, feedback or require any support.