FDA approves a coronavirus test that can give results in 5 m
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Abbott’s coronavirus test will be run on its “ID NOW” platform, which is already used for rapidly diagnosing patients who are sick with things like influenza and strep throat. The test looks for fragments of the coronavirus genome in samples picked up through a throat or nasal swab. It can deliver positive results in as little as five minutes, and negative results within 13 minutes. It’s about the size of a toaster and weighs less than 7 pounds.

“With rapid testing on ID NOW, healthcare providers can perform molecular point-of-care testing outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots,” said Abbott president and COO Robert Ford.

Such a test would also dramatically reduce testing backlog — currently, many Americans who are able to access testing face long wait times. In fact, test results can take over a week, a delay that endangers particularly high-risk individuals. For these reasons, Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, called the new test a “game-changer” in dealing with the outbreak. “The Abbot Lab test will give the fast point of care immediately, and hopefully more accurately than old test,” he tweeted on Friday.

Even with that low rate of testing, the US has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world, a fact some experts believe means the country has a number of unconfirmed cases that faster testing could help reveal.

According to the Times report, published Thursday, about 65,000 coronavirus tests are being performed a day in the US, but experts say that 150,000 tests are needed a day to identify and separate infected patients quickly — and Abbott’s test would go a long way toward helping the US reach that number.

Source: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/28/21198021/coronavirus-test-abbott-fda-covid-19-5-minutes
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