A new test from Abbott can detect coronavirus in minutes. It will ship next week.
By Zeeshan Aleem@ZeeshanAleem |
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a molecular test that can diagnose novel coronavirus infections within a matter of minutes.
The test, created by Abbott Laboratories, is highly portable and can be used in a wide variety of settings, from hospital emergency rooms to urgent care clinics to physicians’ offices. The company says it expects to start shipping the kit out to health care providers next week, and that it will be able to deliver 50,000 tests a day by April 1.
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 nose 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.
If distributed effectively, the test could help expand national testing capacity, better allowing public health experts to understand which populations are most at risk of infection, and helping state and federal officials better plan response strategies.