Bosch develops rapid test for Covid-19


352 points | by doener 445 days ago


  • rurban 445 days ago
    This is not rapid, only 10 tests/day, whilst the current overly slow sequencers can do 200/day. The accuracy of 5% is also worse than other faster sequencers of 3%.

    And compare that to modern ThermalFischer parallel PCR sequencers, which operate in realtime, 25 tests in parallel, for 2.500€. That's a factor of 1000. With 10 modern sequencers per city you could test 10.000 per day, eg with drive-in.

    • rubidium 445 days ago
      Agreed. Also the Cepheid one is faster (45 minute for point-of-care results) and has FDA approval ... not sure other advantages/disadvantages of each system though (instrument and reagent cost, # deployed units, etc).

      That said, it’s great to see all the companies that are putting real effort into this. This is their time to serve.

      My own employer has assembled a task force for repurposing some kits we have for covid research. Everyone working on it is happy to have someway they can try and help out.

      • noir_lord 445 days ago
        I don't work in an area where my skills can contribute but I'm in the process of finding out if I can sort insurance out to go out and do medication deliveries on motorcycle for local pharmacises, with the lockdown and the number of vulnerable people (including my mother and best friend) who can't leave their houses there is >1.5m people who can't leave at all for health reasons most of whom require prescription medication monthly.

        At the moment I feel so incredibly fucking useless lurking at home playing video games.

        • zitterbewegung 445 days ago
          Every day you don't fill a hospital bed can save countless lives. From the doctors who would have to diagnose and treat you to the people that you would infect when you don't realize you have the virus.

          Sometimes being a hero is boring.

          • rubidium 445 days ago
            If you’re healthy you could also reach out to a local shelter, neighborhood not for profit, charity or church. They may have needs.

            Also, don’t forget to socialize in whatever way you can. Skype your relatives, call your friends, send a letter to your neighbor. Go on a walk and ask people (from 6 Ft away or more of course) how they’re doing. Take time to do the human things. Anyway to make someone else feel slightly normal is this time is a big help!

          • brian_herman__ 445 days ago
            cool good luck with your task force!
          • subrat_rout 445 days ago
            In addition to all information above this test is able to detect antibodies only not virus. So it is not recommended tests by WHO. This test is only useful in the later part of infection by the time which patient might have in contact with others thus spreading the disease. We need tests which can detect single of very few virus particle in the early stage of infection and that will help to quarantine the patient thus reducing virus spread.
            • stcredzero 445 days ago
     to detect antibodies only not virus...This test is only useful in the later part of infection

              Actually, getting a sense of the penetration of infection into the general population, among asymptomatic people and mild cases would be very valuable information! Antibody tests could be used to sample test the public at large.

              • VectorLock 445 days ago
                Plus having a point of care test for triaging seems extremely useful as well.

                I don't think this is meant to replace large labs running rtPCR tests.

              • rafaelferreira 445 days ago
                I'm not sure this is true. Bosh's site says "Which detection method is used in Bosch’s COVID-19 test? The COVID-19 test is based on a combination of sample preparation (including process controls): Multiplex PCR (Polymerase-Chain-Reaction), μArray-detection to allow the identification of SARS-CoV-2."
                • mapt 445 days ago
                  Even if you have unlimited virus tests, antibody tests are extremely useful. The one combined with the other demonstrates recovery as opposed to pre-infection. Supposedly antibody tests can also be made field-deployable much easier than virus tests.
                  • Angostura 445 days ago
                    I imagine antibody tests are very very useful for spotting people have already contracted the disease, recovered and may therefore have a degree of immunity.
                    • rpm91 445 days ago
                      I believe that line in the Q&A is referring to the "other COVID-19 tests, where the test result is available in a few minutes". It's ambiguous and confusingly phrased, but it seems like Bosch directly detecting the pathogen, in contrast to other rapid tests (which don't, presumably, use PCR, as that takes longer than "a few minutes").
                      • LifeLiverTransp 445 days ago
                        Eh, wrong, this is the key to freedom. You can have people who already had the disease, and no longer test positiv for the disease, return outside to go back to work, as they acquired immmunity.
                      • amelius 445 days ago
                        The accuracy of 5% is also worse than other faster sequencers of 3%

                        Is that false positives or false negatives or both so to speak? I.e. what is the confusion matrix of these techniques?

                        • rsynnott 445 days ago
                          This is low throughput but high speed; there's a use-case for that.
                          • arrrg 445 days ago
                            I heard that this is about testing in the periphery? MDs could put it in their offices and test their employees daily, for example. That’s one possible use case.
                            • rsynnott 445 days ago
                              I'd assume most general practitioners aren't taking patients in person anymore except in exceptional circumstances. It could definitely be useful for testing hospital personnel before they go on shift, tho.
                            • tomcooks 445 days ago
                              Isn't that the same thing?
                              • fhars 445 days ago
                                No, this is faster than e.g. the Roche tests mentioned here last week, it will give you the first test result after two and a half hours, while the Roche one will take three and a half hours to give you the first result. So it is faster.

                                But it will give you the second test result after five hours, while the Roche machine will give you the second result after three and a half hours, too. As well as the third, the fourth, and the fifth. Oh, and the onehundredandninetysecond one, too. In the 24 hours the Bosch machine produces ten results, the Roche one will produce more than fourthousand results.

                                • endymi0n 445 days ago
                                  He means low throughput and low latency, both of which are related to a concept of speed, but not the same.

                                  > Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.

                                  — Andrew S. Tanenbaum

                              • wenc 445 days ago
                                Tell us more. Another comment has a link to a news article that says this Bosch machine costs 15.000€ with cartridges costing 50-100€. The Bosch machine has a faster response (2.5hr), but lower overall throughput.

                                How much does the ThermoFischer sequencer cost? Is it affordable enough that every hospital just buys one and becomes a regional testing lab? How much specialized training does it need? (in every major city there are tons of biology and biology-adjacent majors who've done lab work but discovered there's no living to be made in bio so have switched to other fields).

                                • VectorLock 445 days ago
                                  Also it might be more expensive, but if you look at total cost of ownership - supporting infrastructure lab, skilled lab technicians to run it, supplies required, etc - how does it compare?
                                • globular-toast 445 days ago
                                  You're forgetting the difference between bandwidth and latency.
                                  • ot 445 days ago
                                    The machine can only do one test at a time, so throughput = 1 / latency.
                                    • amelius 445 days ago
                                      But this isn't true if you have multiple machines. Throughput goes up, but latency stays the same. In that case low latency counts more.
                                    • blaeks 445 days ago
                                      I don't get this.
                                      • globular-toast 445 days ago
                                        Example of low latency connection: Morse code via flashlight.

                                        Example of high bandwidth connection: van full of books.

                                        These are orthogonal properties and must be considered separately.

                                        The massively parallel machines will give you 200 samples per day, but in the very best case you have to wait until the end of the day to get the first one. This technology gives you a result a couple of hours after taking the sample.

                                        • rwoerz 445 days ago
                                          "You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant." (Warren Buffet)
                                      • rexreed 445 days ago
                                        Not to mention the expensive cost of consumables. This is more of a marketing play than a practical solution to the global pandemic.
                                        • KingOfCoders 445 days ago
                                          I think you mix up latency and throughput.
                                          • ksk 445 days ago
                                            Honest question, are you speaking from experience? We run PCRs at our company for our vaccine research and having to run them back-to-back day-in-day out, without any manual errors, is going to be super stressful for any lab. Not to mention the costs of training healthcare personnel on how to run a PCR.
                                            • VectorLock 445 days ago
                                              Thats what seems like the difference to me. If anybody can put samples in a cartridge in a machine and get results that seems like a whole different game.
                                          • jphenningsen 445 days ago
                                            This test is made for use at the point of care, apparently all the operater has to do is insert a swab into a cartridge and put it into the device. [0] Comparing the throughput to fully automated systems used in testing labs [1] (look at this beast!) or qPCR machines in research labs [2] is missing the point, those require high investment or skilled staff. A test that can be run quickly by any doctor would be very useful to rapidly detect new outbreaks in the time following the current lockdowns.

                                            However I suspect that the downside of this device will be the high cost of consumables, as is common for microarray biochip based devices.

                                            [0] [1] [2]

                                            • smiley1437 445 days ago
                                              It's like a Keurig single serve coffee machine but for covid-19 testing
                                              • ksk 445 days ago
                                                Yeah, consumables cost is always the bug-bear for single use tech. Also, the cost of disposal/incineration can balloon up significantly.
                                              • ThePhysicist 445 days ago
                                                Sounds really impressive, but writing "1,000 tests per day with just 100 devivces" is really marketing BS I think. They should've just written "10 tests per day per device".
                                                • diggan 445 days ago
                                                  The full quote is "A Bosch Vivalytic analyzer can perform up to ten tests in the space of 24 hours. This means it takes just 100 devices to evaluate up to 1,000 tests per day." which makes more sense, the 100 devices is just an example.

                                                  But I agree that it's largely unnecessary, the initial "up to ten tests per day" would have been enough.

                                                  • gfosco 445 days ago
                                                    The full quote does one extra thing, it implies that buying 100+ of these machines is totally expected.
                                                    • dx034 445 days ago
                                                      I'm not sure how they price these devices but it could make sense to compare against labs. The question is not how many tests a device can perform but how many tests you can perform for all available devices and at a price comparable to larger lab installations. Maybe 100 devices is a comparable rate there.
                                                      • VectorLock 445 days ago
                                                        Larger lab with a variety of specialized equipment and trained personnel vs. a wall of these machines; very different.
                                                      • gambiting 445 days ago
                                                        Can these machines do anything else after we're done with Covid-19? I assume they can run other tests?
                                                        • nfin 445 days ago
                                                          they also simultaneously test for influenza A and B
                                                          • anamexis 445 days ago
                                                            There is a chance we will never be done with COVID-19.
                                                          • ksk 445 days ago
                                                            Obviously its implied because that's the influx of patients a lot of hospitals are seeing.
                                                            • dom_hutton 445 days ago
                                                              Is this marketing?
                                                              • de_watcher 445 days ago
                                                                Better (or worse) marketing: "a test takes almost 2.5 hours".
                                                                • zulln 445 days ago
                                                                  Is that true, or is it running multiple tests partly simultaneously?
                                                                  • fhars 445 days ago
                                                                    Yes, and no. In runs nine tests in parallel (like Covid-19, influenza-A, influenza-B etc), but all on the same sample.
                                                                  • martyvis 445 days ago
                                                                    It's almost as if the decision makers that might buy these can't multiply by 10 very well. (Oh wait, they are probably politicians ... )
                                                            • usrusr 445 days ago
                                                              True. This is seems to be on one of the extreme ends of latency versus throughput optimization and its niche in the big picture of Covid-19 will be very small.

                                                              But it appears to be a new test cartridge for an already deployed machine, so it makes sense to have it anyways. I don't know who the typical customer of an on-site lab in a box like that is, but I guess that as last part of the market will be defined by remoteness and there it absolutely makes sense.

                                                              See for the marginally less fluffy product page

                                                              • henrikschroder 445 days ago
                                                                Universell, intuitiv, schnell!

                                                                Man, I love German advertising. It's like the one for Ritter Sport chocolate. SQUARE! PRACTICAL! GOOD!

                                                                • posterboy 445 days ago
                                                                  The meter in German, "Quadratisch, praktisch, gut" is rhythmic at least
                                                                • Vesther 445 days ago
                                                                  Speaking of things fluffy, for what I assume to be a cutting-edge medical device the promo video on that page is.. interesting.


                                                                  • usrusr 445 days ago
                                                                    Oh, impressive demonstration of why stuff is expensive, and which b-arker jobs will likely take the biggest hit from post pandemic down-to-earth-ness.
                                                                  • _ph_ 445 days ago
                                                                    I don't know how many of these machines are already deployed, but if there are a lot of them already at many doctors, it could be a huge thing, as suddenly, the tests can be run on existing infrastructure.
                                                                    • thomasz 445 days ago
                                                                      > True. This is seems to be on one of the extreme ends of latency versus throughput optimization and it's niche in the big picture of Covid-19 will be very small.

                                                                      Could be very important for screening doctors, nurses, and people in close contact with high risk populations.

                                                                    • jansan 445 days ago
                                                                      This seems to be an existing product that was extended to test for coronavirus:

                                                                      The device itself was apparently made available about two years ago:

                                                                      So yes, this is a great achievement and excellent marketing.

                                                                      • 101404 445 days ago
                                                                        "Up to" is a synonym for "not more than but probably fewer".

                                                                        So it doesn't really say how many tests it can process in a real-world setting.

                                                                        • gpderetta 445 days ago
                                                                          Don't current testing machines have much, much higher throughput? Like in the thousands of tests per day? It seems the advantage of this new device is latency. Of course if they are cheap enough and easy to use that you can buy thousands of them and distribute to all hospitals then might also increase total throughput.
                                                                          • fabian2k 445 days ago

                                                                            That describes how this particular test works. It's a small device with self-contained cartridges, so it's designed to be used outside a lab and doesn't require experts to operate. But as far as I can see, it only processes a single sample at a time. A typical PCR setup in the lab can handle 96 reactions at a time, though you also need controls there which I assume are built in the cartridge in some way in this test. And then there are the big automated systems.

                                                                            I think the benefit of this device here is only present if you already have one, it's not a way to seriously scale up testing as a whole unless these devices are very widely used already.

                                                                            • dx034 445 days ago
                                                                              The idea is to not have a lab with a huge machine testing several thousand samples a day, but to have these devices spread out throughout the hospital and doctor's offices to test closer to the patient. A device will also be much cheaper than the fully automated devices in labs.

                                                                              If it works and they can provide enough devices, this could be great. Logistics (getting samples and material to labs and handling them there) is one of the constraining factors at the moment.

                                                                              • waterishail 445 days ago
                                                                                Also it can do multiple tests so it makes it easier to distinguish exactly what you have.
                                                                              • ThePhysicist 445 days ago
                                                                                It’s a really small device as far as I understand, so you could use it in a small practice or even on the go (?). This can be an advantage as most of the lab systems weigh several tons and take up a lot of floor space, hence you can never use them in a decentralized setting.
                                                                                • usrusr 445 days ago
                                                                                  The intersection between moneyedness and remoteness. The more I think about it the more I suspect that the pilot market for this class of device would be the sick bay of a yacht that has its own Wikipedia page. Which is fine, but surely nothing that will have a meaningful impact on our general understanding of the epidemic.
                                                                                • tomohawk 445 days ago
                                                                                  Sometimes you need the motorcycle. Sometimes you need the train. If you only have trains or only have motorcycles, it's hard to meet all the needs.
                                                                                  • khjklehti 445 days ago
                                                                                    Current machines test large batches at a time. You need to wait until you fill a batch, otherwise you waste valuable reagents.
                                                                                  • gridlockd 445 days ago
                                                                                    > Sounds really impressive, but writing "1,000 tests per day with just 100 devivces" is really marketing BS I think.


                                                                                    > They should've just written "10 tests per day per device".

                                                                                    Incorrect. Marketing BS works.

                                                                                    • jtms 445 days ago
                                                                                      And it even works on people who fully understand it and think they are above it
                                                                                      • ksk 445 days ago
                                                                                        Give people at-least some credit... :) It doesn't work like you think at all. We buy lots of high end equipment for our vaccine research/manufacturing, including PCR machines. Nobody in biotech opens up their wallet for high-ticket items based on a few words on a website. They have to actually demonstrate that it does what you want. We demand application notes, papers, data, industry references, the works. Before a purchase is made a URS document is prepared, then there is the FAT, the SAT, IQ/OQ/PQ validation and on and on..
                                                                                        • gridlockd 444 days ago
                                                                                          I'll refer you to what your sibling said:

                                                                                          "It even works on people who fully understand it and think they are above it."

                                                                                          > Nobody in biotech opens up their wallet for high-ticket items based on a few words on a website.

                                                                                          Sure, but that doesn't mean the wording has no effect.

                                                                                          • ksk 444 days ago
                                                                                            I don't understand your comment. Are you presenting an opinion of your own that you want me to respond to?
                                                                                      • iagooar 445 days ago
                                                                                        You're talking about it, so they achieved their goal.
                                                                                      • 9nGQluzmnq3M 445 days ago
                                                                                        I'm seeing a lot of grumbling here about this being "slow", but currently most COVID testing involves shipping samples around to remote labs. A NYT article about a hospital in Brooklyn mentioned that their samples are tested in California (!), and with these labs also inundated, average time to get a result is over a week now.

                                                                                        So if you can install these machines directly in hospitals, clinics etc, they will still be far faster than sending them off to a lab.

                                                                                        • Zealotux 445 days ago
                                                                                          It all sounds impressive to me:

                                                                                          >In various laboratory tests with SARS-CoV-2, the Bosch test delivered results with an accuracy of over 95 percent.

                                                                                          I've read a lot of report on the current tests for SARS-CoV-2 having accuracy issues, does anyone know how 95% accuracy compares to the current methods?

                                                                                          • sheldonf 445 days ago
                                                                                            Practicing hospital physician here. We never use the term "accuracy" to describe diagnostic tests, and whenever I see that term used, I'm very suspicious of the claim being made. In other words, this Bosch announcement can probably be ignored.

                                                                                            We use the terms "sensitivity" and "specificity" to describe diagnostic test performance, and never to my knowledge talk about a test's "accuracy." Usually accuracy refers to the sensitivity, but there's a lot of liberty taken with that term in marketing talk.

                                                                                            For example, the existing PCR test being used does not have ideal sensitivity, which for practical purposes means that there is a substantial false-negative rate. Which is why (among other reasons) we weren't testing asymptomatic patients in the early phase.

                                                                                            • _Microft 445 days ago
                                                                                              According to Wikipedia, accuracy is actually defined in this context. This does not not mean that Bosch has not used everyday speech here but it is not clear that they have. Too bad that the article does not include links to additional information.


                                                                                              • halflings 445 days ago
                                                                                                Of course accuracy is defined, but it's not the right metric because you usually have a large bias in the tested population: even if you only test people with symptoms, you might only have 10% of people that actually have the disease; so a test that always says "NO" would have 90% accuracy.

                                                                                                That's why you look at True Positive Rate (sensitivity) and True Negative Rate (specificity) to factor that bias out. If TPR is 95%, that means that 95% of the people that are actually infected (10% of the pop in the previous ex.) will be detected as such. IF TNR is 20%, that means you'll mistakenly detect 20% of people that don't have it as infected, which would be really bad.

                                                                                                In other fields, people use Precision and Recall. Precision = % of times the test is right when it predicts a positive. Recall = how many of the real positives were detected as such.

                                                                                                • Octoth0rpe 445 days ago
                                                                                                  > IF TNR is 20%, that means you'll mistakenly detect 20% of people that don't have it as infected, which would be really bad.

                                                                                                  Would it though? It's my understanding that most people who test positive are still being sent home, not forcefully hospitalized. And given that we don't actually have a widely used pharmaceutical intervention protocol, there's no side effects to worry about from false positives (eg of the opposite of this: if we were giving every confirmed case chloroquine or interleukin). The worst case outcome from a high false positive rate (low TNR) would seem to me that people would be extra good at self quarantining.

                                                                                                  • ballenf 445 days ago
                                                                                                    If you're a healthcare worker, the cost of a false-positive could be high.

                                                                                                    For them and others one cost is that they'll feel themselves somewhat immune when they're not and may not take precautions. It will also confuse study of the disease if it starts to look like your "2nd" infection can be much worse than your first.

                                                                                                  • buboard 445 days ago
                                                                                                    plus in the current context, false negatives are much more dangerous than false positives
                                                                                                    • oldgradstudent 445 days ago
                                                                                                      Not necessarily.

                                                                                                      Hospitals in an epidemic are major spreaders of the infection. If false positive results lead to patients being put together with real carriers, they will soon be infected.

                                                                                                      From a recent report[1] from Italy:

                                                                                                      > For example, we are learning that hospitals might be the main Covid-19 carriers, as they are rapidly populated by infected patients, facilitating transmission to uninfected patients. Patients are transported by our regional system, which also contributes to spreading the disease as its ambulances and personnel rapidly become vectors. Health workers are asymptomatic carriers or sick without surveillance; some might die, including young people, which increases the stress of those on the front line.

                                                                                                      It could mean that some of the major causes of the large death toll in Italy are the lack of personal protection equipment, and, possibly, laxity in following protocol.


                                                                                                      • acqq 445 days ago
                                                                                                        > some of the major causes of the large death toll...

                                                                                                        Wrong. The major cause is that the number of people getting sick at once was much higher than the infrastructure can handle. That's what other governments saw and now try to avoid with the lockdowns.

                                                                                                        This was made 10 days ago by the Italian biotech Association it's the number of new cases and deaths per week (red), compared with the number of cases per week at the peak of the "normal" flu (blue):


                                                                                                        It can happen everywhere if the growth continues, simply because nothing can cope with fast exponential growth. At the moment, wherever it is uncontrolled, it's around 3 days to double. Sounds like small numbers, just 2 and 3? That gives however a thousandfold growth in 30 days: everybody working with computers should be very familiar with the equation 2^10 = 1024 (it's 2^(30/3) == 2^10 == 1024, 30 being the number of days for the projection, 3 the doubling time and 2 the doubling itself).

                                                                                                        Nobody has thousandfold more hospital beds and doctors ready, even less a million times more, which is the two month's growth.

                                                                                                        Discussing other factors without first admitting the major one is obviously biased.

                                                                                                        • oldgradstudent 445 days ago
                                                                                                          Thank you so much for explaining exponential growth to me.

                                                                                                          > Nobody has thousandfold more hospital beds and doctors ready, even less a million times more, which is the two month's growth.

                                                                                                          And in a few additional months, we will need more ICU beds than the number of atoms in the universe.

                                                                                                          Infection rates are already significant, there just aren't enough people to sustain two months' growth.

                                                                                                          • willyt 445 days ago
                                                                                                            > Infection rates are already significant, there just aren't enough people to sustain two months' growth.

                                                                                                            This is wrong, of course there are enough people for this to grow for months even with no containment efforts.


                                                                                                            • oldgradstudent 445 days ago
                                                                                                              That model is 10 days old, and already out of date. Look at the one they've released yesterday.

                                                                                                              Again, these models are not robust to minor changes in their assumptions.

                                                                                                            • acqq 445 days ago
                                                                                                              > there just aren't enough people to sustain two months' growth

                                                                                                              It can be simply calculated: it is expected that without measures the growth to 70% of population would be continuous (very approximately, the end phase wouldn't, we're estimating the limit). So the target is 6e9 people. If we assume that 4/5ths are the people who remain undetected by our current sampling, we want to know the growth between the current known infected and the target which is then 1.26e9 people. Currently known are 0.5 million infected. So the fastest end of growth phase would be just: 2520 times or around 2^11=2048 == just 11 times 3 day doubling time, or 33 days.

                                                                                                              The growth will surely not be always exactly 3 days however, so it will be slower, but still not less dramatic, because the resources are many, many times smaller, in the poorer countries many tens of times smaller.

                                                                                                              In short it can be very, very bad, and that will be much longer than just a month, just not the exact growth as now.

                                                                                                              See the papers from Imperial College London for the exact shapes of the curves and the examples of their speed and growth.

                                                                                                              The last one is from today.

                                                                                                          • buboard 445 days ago
                                                                                                            That may be highly specific to this period, where italy outside hospitals is in lockdown. As we move forward, people will use the tests to decide whether to go back to work, which makes them more critical
                                                                                                        • _Microft 445 days ago
                                                                                                          That's a good point, thanks for chiming in!
                                                                                                      • neuronic 445 days ago
                                                                                                        The substantial false-negative rate is also one of the reasons why covid patients weren't released from quarantine after a first negative test, since a single result doesn't pass the risk threshold. Multiple negatives in sequence give the desired certainty of someone really being covid-free.
                                                                                                        • mehrdadn 445 days ago
                                                                                                          Thank you! I've been bringing up the sensitivity issue a lot recently, since it seems to be disregarded by many upset at the situation. I have a question for you if you don't mind: when so many people complain about lack of testing in the US, do you know what false-negative rates would exist for the tests we'd expect to see (like what they see available en mass in other countries)? And would you know what that level would need to be for the test to be useful?
                                                                                                          • skissane 445 days ago
                                                                                                            Accuracy = (Sensitivity + Specificity) / 2.

                                                                                                            The measure does sometimes get used when discussing diagnostic tests - for an example from psychology/psychiatry see

                                                                                                            • notascientist 445 days ago
                                                                                                              No, accuracy is the same here it is for any binary classification. accuracy = (true positives + true negatives) / all samples. A largely useless measure. As a single score F1 score is much better, but sensitivity and specifity are specified separately for good reason. It makes napking math much easier, for one thing.
                                                                                                              • skissane 445 days ago
                                                                                                                What confused me is there are actually two definitions of accuracy.

                                                                                                                Accuracy: ACC = (TP+TN)/(P+N)

                                                                                                                Balanced Accuracy: BA = (TPR+TNR)/2

                                                                                                                The definition I gave is the second not the first. You are probably correct that the conference abstract I linked to is using it in the first sense not the second. (I'm not 100% sure though.)


                                                                                                            • thinkharderdev 445 days ago
                                                                                                              So would sensitivity be the percentage of infected people who test positive and specificity be the percentage of non-infected who test negative (i.e. sensitivity = (1 - false negative probability) and specificity = (1 - false positive probability))?
                                                                                                              • mehrdadn 445 days ago
                                                                                                                Yes. The intuitive way I try to remember it is to think that, in just plain English, "How sensitive is this thing?" means "How likely is it to detect whatever it's supposed to detect?" (e.g.: How likely is this security camera to detect movement?)
                                                                                                                • fit2rule 445 days ago
                                                                                                                  "Sensitivity" is an inaccurate term, since for non-native English speakers, it could be misinterpreted as a term to mean some kind of emotional response.

                                                                                                                  "Accuracy" is a bit more scientific- leaning and therefore easier to translate.

                                                                                                                  Remember, COVID-19 is a global phenomenon, its not just relegated to the Anglo-sphere. Bosch, being a German company, is probably a bit sensitive to the accuracy of translations that will be needed to market this thing effectively around the world .. ;)

                                                                                                                  • mehrdadn 445 days ago
                                                                                                                    > Remember, COVID-19 is a global phenomenon, its not just relegated to the Anglo-sphere. Bosch, being a German company, is probably a bit sensitive to the accuracy of translations that will be needed to market this thing effectively around the world .. ;)


                                                                                                                    I was only trying to help the parent find a way to remember which one is sensitivity and which one is specificity...

                                                                                                                    • fit2rule 445 days ago
                                                                                                                      Yes, and you perfectly demonstrated the confusion possible by selecting the wrong terms. Sure, 'specificity' and 'sensitivity' are scientific terms - but for marketing material, can be confused with emotional responses. Thus, I believe Bosch chose 'accuracy', since this translates into other languages more effectively.
                                                                                                                      • mehrdadn 445 days ago
                                                                                                               material? To the non-English world? I was literally just explaining a potentially helpful thought process to an English-speaking HN visitor dev who lists his(?) public key on his profile... not trying to produce marketing material for a French waiter or something. Are you sure you're not the one confused here rather than him?
                                                                                                                        • fit2rule 445 days ago
                                                                                                                          I'm only trying to point out that Bosch may have specifically chosen the term 'accuracy' instead of 'specificity' or 'sensitivity', which don't translate easily outside of the Anglo-sphere, and in my opinion your thread is a valid example of why those two terms don't get used to market this device, which is what kicked this thread off in the first place ..
                                                                                                                          • fhars 445 days ago
                                                                                                                            It is more likely that they were trying do deliberatly write a vague statement, their (native) German announcement uses the same "Genauigkeit", instead of the relevant terms "Sensitivität" and "Spezifizität".
                                                                                                                            • fit2rule 444 days ago
                                                                                                                              Bosch sells its releases in 100's of different countries. I'm not saying they weren't using inaccurate terminology intentionally, more that there are indeed some guidelines for how things are couched in releases of this nature and one of those guidelines is translatability.

                                                                                                                              Especially apropos life-support systems where, indeed, RTFM||die is a thing.

                                                                                                              • zeroxfe 445 days ago
                                                                                                                Sounds like "Sensitivity" and "Specificity" are analogous to "Accuracy" and "Precision" typically used in data sciences.
                                                                                                                • vibrio 445 days ago
                                                                                                                  I don't really know data science but in assay validation, sensitivity basically measures false negative rate, and specificity measures false positive rate. Accuracy and precision are measures of assay consistency or tightness. (statisticians may not purely agree with my simple explanation)
                                                                                                                  • zeroxfe 445 days ago
                                                                                                                    Gotcha -- specificity sounded like tightness to me. Thanks for the explanation.
                                                                                                                • _fizz_buzz_ 445 days ago
                                                                                                                  This page was obviously written by the marketing department. So, let's see what their actual tech specs will look like when they come out.
                                                                                                                  • fit2rule 445 days ago
                                                                                                                    These terms don't translate very well on an International market. Bosch probably chose its terminology to suit its plans to market these devices outside the Anglo-sphere, as well...
                                                                                                                  • s9w 445 days ago
                                                                                                                    Depending on what exactly that 95% number is, that could be incredibly bad. There is some eye-opening math about testing inaccuracies combined with low case numbers.
                                                                                                                    • gridlockd 445 days ago
                                                                                                                      In my recollection, previously announced "quick tests" had only a 70% accuracy.
                                                                                                                    • prox 445 days ago
                                                                                                                      It’s good to see solutions for testing are coming.

                                                                                                                      This test by Singapore a*star nanobiolab can test in 5 minutes :

                                                                                                                      • danieldk 445 days ago
                                                                                                                        Besides comparing times, I guess the accuracies or FP/FN rates are also important. The linked article states 95% accuracy for the Bosch test. Are there any numbers for the 5-minute test?
                                                                                                                        • blompa 445 days ago
                                                                                                                          This article [0] suggests that false negative results will not be as problematic if we manage to start screening on a population level.

                                                                                                                          Inaccuracy of up to 15% could still keep the viral R0 under 1.0 (the critical value for eliminating an epidemic).

                                                                                                                          From the article:

                                                                                                                          > "False negative rates up to 15% could be tolerated if 80% comply with testing, and false positives can be almost arbitrarily high when a high fraction of the population is already effectively quarantined"


                                                                                                                          • dx034 445 days ago
                                                                                                                            Shouldn't we optimize for a higher number of false positives? In the end, sending someone in quarantine for 2 weeks without them being infected is probably less dangerous than a false negative. So making tests overly sensitive would seem more applicable to me here.
                                                                                                                            • chimprich 445 days ago
                                                                                                                              If you're quarantining a large number of medics then that's potentially serious and possibly more dangerous overall if your numbers are off.
                                                                                                                              • dx034 444 days ago
                                                                                                                                You could administer two tests for those, I believe that's what's already done.
                                                                                                                              • adventured 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                No, we should optimize for a balance between the two.

                                                                                                                                For example a 150,000 batch of rapid tests China recently sent to Czechia had 80% error rates. You don't want to be mass quarantining people because of such terrible testing supplies.

                                                                                                                                • mschuster91 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                  There's nothing inherently bad with mass quarantines.
                                                                                                                            • prox 445 days ago
                                                                                                                              It only states high sensitivity and accuracy, you might find actual data on the a*star nanobiolab website.
                                                                                                                          • shultays 445 days ago

                                                                                                                              Up to 1,000
                                                                                                                              (in smaller font) tests per day on just 100 devices
                                                                                                                            I guess 10 test per day per device is not as cool
                                                                                                                            • TrickyRick 445 days ago
                                                                                                                              If the tests take 2.5 hours and given that there is no parallellism it's pretty basic maths to figure out that 1 device can do about 10 tests per day.
                                                                                                                              • pixiemaster 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                i think it’s for the time after the pandemic. so you can identity potential infected very decentralized, so it does not happen again in 2021.
                                                                                                                                • oaiey 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                  that is the right angle I guess. This should be a local doctor device.
                                                                                                                                • mlrtime 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                  That depends on how small and inexpensive the device is. For arguments sake if it is the size (looks like it) and price of a small computer than you can put one anywhere and scale it massively.
                                                                                                                                • kplex 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                  Am I missing something here or does this look rather over-engineered and with limited capacity - 10 tests per device per day - I assume the device is the large central unit.
                                                                                                                                  • totetsu 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                    I wonder if it refuses to operate at all without a wifi connection? ;)
                                                                                                                                    • sudhirj 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                      Takes about two and a half hours per test, so yeah, 10 tests a day per unit.
                                                                                                                                    • blackbear_ 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                      More details on coronavirus testing for the interested:
                                                                                                                                      • ginko 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                        > Up to 1,000 tests per day on just 100 devices

                                                                                                                                        So.. 10 tests per day per device? That doesn't sound THAT impressive.

                                                                                                                                        • lmedinas 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                          "(...)the rapid test can detect a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in patients in under two and a half hours" (...)With the tests currently in use, patients must usually wait one to two days for a result."

                                                                                                                                          Well i see here a big improvement...

                                                                                                                                          • PierceJoy 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                            > With the tests currently in use, patients must usually wait one to two days for a result.

                                                                                                                                            Is that because it takes 2 days for the test to complete, or because there a 2 day delay from backlog + administrative time?

                                                                                                                                            • PunchTornado 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                              usually shipping the samples to a lab. this test can be done on the spot in the hospital by a doctor.
                                                                                                                                            • blompa 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                              The thing is though, the current PCR-based tests can be parallelised, with hundreds being run at the same time, taking just a couple of hours.

                                                                                                                                              The biggest waiting time comes from logistics with transportation to the labs, which is where the Bosch test is advantageous.

                                                                                                                                            • guillem_lefait 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                              "under two and a half hours" per test. To be able to make 10 tests per day, you'll probably can't have any delay between tests : 1 day = 10 x (2 hours + 24minutes).

                                                                                                                                              If accuracy is an issue, why not doing a two pass procedure ? 1) test quick and cheap 2) if results have low confidence, move to longer/more reliable testing method

                                                                                                                                              • mehrdadn 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                That approach makes sense for when you want a low false positive rate, i.e. when the treatment is dangerous or expensive (so you want to avoid it at all costs if it's unnecessary). Here, it's the other way around. Treatment is benign (stay at home unless it becomes an emergency), but a false negative is expensive (you'd infect lots of others). What cheap test do you know that can have a low false negative rate? The only one I know is the one that flags everyone as infected.
                                                                                                                                                • tachion 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                  How does that help? Which results are you going to treat with low confidence for second pass and why? Positives? Negatives? Both? If both, then what's the point of first pass anyway?
                                                                                                                                                • buboard 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                  yeah that's bad marketing but who needs marketing these days.

                                                                                                                                                  their advantage seems to be that they don't need extra personell to run , so anyone with sufficient safety precautions could use them in a hospital

                                                                                                                                                  • 4140tm 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                    it does, when you take into account the turnover of existing accurate test methods and their accessibility
                                                                                                                                                  • buboard 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                    • jansan 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                      So the whole thing is an existing product that was extended to also test for Coronavirus?
                                                                                                                                                      • cbg0 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                        How else could it have been developed so fast?
                                                                                                                                                        • rubidium 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                          Yes. The best way to build something. Use what you have validated already.
                                                                                                                                                      • incompatible 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                        Various groups are also using the LAMP method (Loop-mediated isothermal amplification) which can apparently give results in 30 minutes or so without expensive thermal cycling equipment.


                                                                                                                                                        Bonus article with biohackers in Sydney:

                                                                                                                                                        • dmix 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                          This one claims 30 minutes for results for the standard product being repurposed by Bosch here as well.
                                                                                                                                                        • numlock86 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                          > Up to 10,000,000 tests per day ...

                                                                                                                                                          > ... on just 1,000,000 devices

                                                                                                                                                          Incredible marketing.

                                                                                                                                                          • moooo99 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                            Given the size of hospitals around the world, I'd assume its not unlikely that they'll buy 100+ of these devices. I agee that this is somewhat confusing, but it doesn't seem too unrealistic.

                                                                                                                                                            Also, it seems like the actual test is the cartridge which is inserted into an existing device. So the device is probably already in use in some places and can get this extra test capability by just inserting the cartridge.

                                                                                                                                                        • anonsubmit2671 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                          There's already a 45-minute rtPCR test from Cepheid and a simple 10 minute ELISA test from SureScreen (which serves a different need, antibody detection rather than infection detection).

                                                                                                                                                          It doesn't appear to have an FDA EUA so it may not be immediately usable in the US.

                                                                                                                                                          The user-friendly UX and compact size seem good.

                                                                                                                                                          The cycle time seems to be on the slow side when minutes count in an ER / ICU situation. ~9 tests per day per machine seems slow, costly and likely to occupy a lot of space for the machines and the cartridges (which contain reagents that have to be kept chilled).

                                                                                                                                                          This seems overall like a timely product to solve immediate needs. It could've been better but it was designed quickly.

                                                                                                                                                          • mikeiz404 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                            >In various laboratory tests with SARS-CoV-2, the Bosch test delivered results with an accuracy of over 95 percent.

                                                                                                                                                            Curious what the false negative rate is.

                                                                                                                                                            >[The device] can perform up to ten tests in the space of 24 hours

                                                                                                                                                            >[Testing] can be performed directly at the point of care. This eliminates the need to transport samples, which takes up valuable time. ... With the tests currently in use, patients must usually wait one to two days for a result

                                                                                                                                                            >... even medical personnel who have not been specially trained on it can reliably perform the test.

                                                                                                                                                            >... it allows a single sample to be tested not just for COVID-19 but also for nine other respiratory diseases, including influenza A and B, simultaneously

                                                                                                                                                            • buboard 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                              my guess is that in the coming months, international travel will require a mandatory 3 hour wait at the airport to get your test result
                                                                                                                                                              • catwell 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                This is fine, but it is yet another molecular test. What we need now are serology tests. They are faster, cheaper, easier to execute (blood-based), can detect cured patients, and can scale to the population of a country.

                                                                                                                                                                Serology tests are already used in several countries in Asia, I have little doubt they will arrive in Europe and the US soon-ish.

                                                                                                                                                                • zajio1am 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                  We already have serology tests in Czechia (got several days ago from China), but there is some confusion about how useful they are. They may produce negative results even for patients with several days of clinical symptoms, so negative results still needs to ve verified with molecular test.
                                                                                                                                                                  • mk89 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                    In Italy they claim to have developed such a test which is based on blood and takes only 15 minutes.


                                                                                                                                                                  • sharathr 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                    Cepheid has started shipping tests that produce results in under 45 minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                    • nabla9 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                      1000 tests per day sounds like what typical hospital needs.

                                                                                                                                                                      I wonder how much 100 Vivalytic devices cost and how much those cartridges cost.

                                                                                                                                                                      Can they mix multiple samples into one test? If you take sample from 10 people, mix them to find that nobody is infected, it increases testing capability 10X.

                                                                                                                                                                      • fbn79 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                        Is not ROCHE systems more performants ?
                                                                                                                                                                        • sah2ed 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                          From your link:

                                                                                                                                                                          ”The widely available Roche’s cobas 6800/8800 Systems, which are used to perform the cobas SARS-CoV-2 Test, provide test results in three and half hours and offer improved operating efficiency, flexibility, and fastest time-to-results with the highest throughput providing up to 96 results in about three hours and a total of 384 results for the cobas 6800 System and 960 results for the cobas 8800 System in 8 hours. The test can be run simultaneously with other assays provided by Roche for use on the cobas 6800/8800 Systems.”

                                                                                                                                                                          • fbn79 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                            So you need 288 BOSH devices to have the daily throughput of a ROCHE 8800 System
                                                                                                                                                                            • rubidium 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair, there’s a massive price difference between the bosh and roche machine.
                                                                                                                                                                        • gmueckl 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                          So the test depends on single use cartridges. How many of those can be manufactured?

                                                                                                                                                                          The testing devices themselves seem to be around 15.000 Euros. So you'd have to have a very good reason to buy one - a reason that isn't throughput.

                                                                                                                                                                          • llarsson 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                            With announcements of this type of thing, what I think we all need to know is also "can you produce tons of these things right now", not just that they exist.
                                                                                                                                                                            • ck2 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                              Has anyone made a resource yet of all the infection tests available vs antibody (immunity) tests available?

                                                                                                                                                                              Seems like that would be handy if not just fascinating

                                                                                                                                                                              • tibbydudeza 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                Imagine how much Theranos would have been worth right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                I think cost firstly and then speed of result would be useful right now never mind the throughput.

                                                                                                                                                                                • jacquesm 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                  Theranos would be worth exactly $0 - their long term liabilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                  You need stuff that works first.

                                                                                                                                                                                • stickac 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                  How is this better than Open qPCR which is 3-times less expensive and can give a test result in 1 hour instead of 2.5 hours?
                                                                                                                                                                                  • lamchob 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                    This is just another test cardridge available for the existing on-site lab machine. The idea is that health-practitioners with access to the device can now test on premise, instead of sending samples to the lab. I can't image a lot local doctors have access to qPCR, where this device is useful for all kinds of other test.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • rubidium 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                      It’s helpful in this time to think of the total cost. If you have equipment already deployed where needed and people already trained that helps!

                                                                                                                                                                                      We really need a whole suite of tests and so the more the merrier. Doctors and healthcare systems will need to figure out what works best for their needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • fizixer 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                        Does 'Open' mean open source? Is there a free/open-source PCR design that DIYers can build themselves as long as they have the parts/resources?
                                                                                                                                                                                        • stickac 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                          For OpenPCR yes, for Open qPRC not.
                                                                                                                                                                                      • superzamp 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                        > Faster certainty, slower spread

                                                                                                                                                                                        At this point, isn't the virus considered to be "everywhere" and testing pointless?

                                                                                                                                                                                        • StevePerkins 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                          I honestly don't even understand what I'm reading anymore. Either on HN and Reddit, or sites like the BBC, NY Times, and CNN.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Half the things I read still reflect fantasies of Asian-style containment in the West.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The other half acknowledge that this is too late. That we're heading up an exponential curve now, and will be on the other side in 3-6 months (depending on measures taken).

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm no expert. But knowing what I know about my nation's government, and the likelihood of its people fully cooperating with any measures, I suspect that the second half is more realistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Meaning that testing and contact tracing is really only going to become relevant later this year. To snuff out any minor flare-ups that occur after most of society has gotten over the curve and built up herd immunity.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • jackallis 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                          this whole every-day news about rapid test dev, etc is getting frustrating. My SO is an MD in NY. All they want to hear from any company is, we have developed method that can be used to test 10k/day with results in 1 hr and will be mass producing and provding in two days.
                                                                                                                                                                                          • endorphone 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                            As an aside question: after each use is that entire cartridge assembly waste?
                                                                                                                                                                                            • 6510 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                              Here is a dumb idea: Mix and test multiple people at the same time.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • donarb 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                That's already being done in some places that have limited numbers of tests. The governor of Nebraska announced that they are pooling tests to save on test kits. Samples from 5 people are combined in 1 test. If the sample tests negative, those people are in the clear. If the sample tests positive, all 5 are then tested again separately.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • shd4 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, good for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Wait. 10 tests per day? That's nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • khjklehti 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                  How expensive is this machine? $1k, $10k?
                                                                                                                                                                                                • GrumpyNl 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                  More important question is, do we trust them?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • JanSt 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bosch is a huge company (400.000 employees). Don't drive your car if you don't trust them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • bakuninsbart 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                      They are also owned by a charitable foundation whose express goal is the long-term welfare of the company and its employees, so they have much less pressure to extract short-term value.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • mhh__ 445 days ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Making a fraudulent test now seems like a wonderful way to simultaneously piss off politicians (i.e. They'd be looking for sympathy points by reacting harshly) and literally decimating your market cap.