To limit the amount of testing required when the NBA returns, a testing procedure called “group testing” is under consideration by the league, league sources tell The Ringer. Several samples from multiple individuals are taken and "grouped" together into the same lab test, which can be done randomly or by mixing samples from members on the same team. If the test is positive, those people's samples would be separately restarted to locate which individual samples are responsible for the positive test.
Mayo Clinic has developed a fingerstick test that it believes is just as accurate as a blood draw through a vein puncture at identifying people who have been exposed to coronavirus and have since developed antibodies. They are seeking to validate the fingerstick test’s accuracy.
“It would be hugely helpful because the fingerstick blood draw could be done at home and the sample could be mailed in for testing at a lab,” Dr. Priya Sampathkumar of the Mayo Clinic said. “Vast numbers of people could be tested without any need to go to the hospital or a clinic to receive a blood draw.”
Participants from the NBA receive both a vein puncture and a fingerstick blood draw at their respective team practice facilities using supplies that the Mayo Clinic shipped to team doctors.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told The Ringer that players were fully on board with providing samples. “Our players have embraced the opportunity to contribute to this important public health study that will help researchers better understand the prevalence of COVID-19, potentially improve care for patients, and promote long-term efforts to develop a vaccine and treatment for the virus,” Roberts said.