Drugs & Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit biotech company, has developed a high-quality, low-cost COVID-19 antibody test which is being submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. Once approved, DDTD will commercialize the test and donate tens of thousands of tests to local schools in the San Diego and surrounding areas.
COVID-19 antibody testing will become critically important as the vaccine continues to be distributed, enabling businesses and schools to reopen, and monitoring the vaccine’s effectiveness and ongoing protection. To help schools safely reopen, DDTD has launched an official crowdfunding campaign to raise $200,000 to kick-start manufacturing and help donate 40,000 tests to schools.
Antibody testing for COVID-19 can help schools in a number of ways. First, it helps establishing the history of a school. Knowing how many children and teachers have been infected in this last year is important. This data will be one of several parameters that will help make an informed decision regarding the reopening of the schools. Second, as the vaccination campaign unfolds, the antibody tests will help establishing how many people are protected, and if the school is closed to having achieved herd immunity. Third, people who have developed immunity may not require frequent testing for active infection, thus saving resources.
Because of our years spent developing tests for neglected tropical diseases (NTD) and by having done so as a nonprofit, we at DDTD have developed a remarkably sensitive and cost-effective diagnostic development platform. It was therefore a natural extension for us to customize our platform to the detection of COVID-19 antibodies. True to our mission, we have developed a high-quality, low-cost COVID-19 antibody test that has 90% sensitivity and 100% specificity.
One benefit of our test is that it has been validated on a diverse group of 75 persons living in and around San Diego, and therefore the test is proven to work for the mixture of ethnicities and personal lives (including exposure to other coronaviruses) found in the area. We also stress that antibody testing for COVID-19 is not a replacement for active infection testing, but a useful complement. In addition, our tests are easy to use and require a drop of blood collected by fingerstick, but they are not self-tests. They will need to be administered by qualified personnel, such as a mobile laboratory with proper FDA certifications. DDTD has developed a unique opportunity for individuals willing to support the donation of tests to schools but needs the help of the San Diego community to make it a reality. Due to the nature of our organization and our focus on developing diagnostics for NTDs, we are primarily funded through government grants that are specifically earmarked for work on these diseases. DDTD therefore needs the support of individuals in order to commercialize and donate COVID-19 antibody tests.
Supporters of the crowdfunding campaign can nominate or designate schools to receive donated tests at certain giving levels (depending on schools’ agreement to accept) and DDTD will also be opening an online portal where schools can apply to be considered a recipient of donated tests.
About the Organization - Drugs & Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD) is a unique non-profit (501c3) venture based in San Diego, CA, with a mission “to discover new treatments and diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases”. These diseases have been typically neglected from research and development efforts due to the perceived lack of profitability and are commonly referred to as Neglected Tropical Diseases or NTDs.