FDA fast-tracks 15-minute COVID-19 test

Virginia Hospital Center workers screens patients for testing for COVID-19 as they arrive onsite for testing in Arlington, Va., on March 19. A newly approved test could produce results in 15 minutes. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

March 28 (UPI) — The Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked the authorization of a COVID-19 test that could produce results in less than 15 minutes, the maker of the test said.

The FDA granted the emergency use authorization Friday.

Abbott Laboratories said the test can produce positive test results in 5 minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. The test is performed on the manufacturer’s 7-pound ID NOW platform.

“Because of its small size, it can be used in more non-traditional places where people can have their results in a matter of minutes, bringing an alternate testing technology to combat the novel coronavirus,” Abbott said.

The company said the platform can also be used to test for flu, strep and respiratory syncytial virus.

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“Through the incredible work of teams across Abbott, we expect to deliver 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day to healthcare professionals on the front lines, where testing capabilities are needed most,” said Chris Scoggins, senior vice president, Rapid Diagnostics, Abbott. “Portable molecular testing expands the country’s capacity to get people answers faster.”

Current coronavirus testing takes between 45 minutes to a few days to return results. Much of the testing is currently taking place at drive-through testing centers throughout the country in an effort to prevent potential COVID-19 patients from spreading the virus in hospital emergency departments.


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