Horizon joins coalition offering $5M prize for improved COVID testing

    Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has joined a coalition offering $5 million in incentives for a companies that can develop COVID-19 tests that help accelerate a safe return to work and school, the insurer announced this week.

    XPRIZE and OpenCovidScreen are leading the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing competition, a six-month effort to encourage innovative individuals and organizations to develop new testing methods representing four key principles:

    • Frequency, allowing testing at least weekly;
    • Fast turn-around, with a maximum 12 hours from sample to result;
    • Cost-effective, with an affordable price for consumers; and
    • Easy, enabling self-collection of samples.

    “Easy, accurate and inexpensive tests that deliver results quickly will help employers and educators operate more safely and give New Jerseyans the peace of mind needed to return to their place of work of school,” Horizon CEO and President Gary St. Hilaire said in a prepared statement. “Every day, Horizon team members seek to help our members achieve their best health. We are focused on driving innovations that advance health care quality, affordability and the member experience.

    “By supporting this contest, we’re helping support scientific advances that would protect our members and customers as they move toward resuming everyday activities in the communities where they live and work.”

    Prospective entrants can compete in one of four categories: At Home, Point-of-Care, Distributed Lab or Central Lab. Entrants will be required to clinically validate their tests before advancing to demonstrate supply-chain scalability and participate in on-site testing, Horizon noted.

    Six other Blue Cross Blue Shield partners are members of the coalition, with supporting partners including Google Health and Amazon.

    For more on the competition, click here.