The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a test kit that detects coronavirus in 5 minutes. The kit was manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and the company said they will start delivering 50,000 kits per day beginning next week to select healthcare facilities across the country.
The test kit is suitable for emergency use and can be utilized in doctors’ offices for immediate diagnostic purposes without the need to visit conventional labs where test results take days to arrive. FDA’s authorization of Abbott’s kit indicates that the test meets federal regulations for validations against false positives and negatives.
A week ago, FDA approved another quick test kit manufactured by Cepheid, a molecular diagnostics company. This kit provides results for COVID-19 within 45 minutes. Some tests that are run in labs can yield results between 4 to 8 hours, while most take days to determine results.
With these test kits, samples must be taken from patients to see if the COVID-19 virus is present in the individual. Many labs and hospitals however complain that they have run out of medical supplies needed to collect samples for testing from patients. To this end, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guideline on how people can collect their own nasal swabs in healthcare centers as specimens for lab experts to work on.
Abbott’s coronavirus test kit is a cartridge-based technology that provides positive COVID-19 results in 5 minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. It also weighs less than 7 pounds.
Health officials report that private and public labs test between 50,000 to 80,000 patients per day for the virus, but experts said the government should authorize more test kits so that between 100,000 to 150,000 people can be tested each day. This will help track the virus faster and also help contain the spread of the disease faster among people.