FDA Approves New Rapid Coronavirus Test

THURSDAY, Aug. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) – The first rapid coronavirus test that does not require special computer equipment to produce results was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday.

Manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, the 15-minute test will sell for $ 5, giving it an edge over similar tests that need to be fed into a small machine, the Associated press reported. No bigger than a credit card, the Abbott test is based on the same technology that is used to test for the flu, strep throat and other infections.

BinaxNOW is the fourth rapid test in the United States that detects COVID-19 antigens, proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus, rather than the virus itself, the AP reported. It is considered a faster, but less accurate screening method.

Abbott’s entry into the COVID-19 rapid test market provides another option to expand testing, the AP reported. The FDA also recently blessed a Yale University saliva test that bypasses some of the supplies that led to bottleneck testing, the wire service said. Neither test can be done at home.

But several companies are developing rapid at-home tests, although none have yet obtained FDA approval, the AP reported. Abbott’s new test still requires a nasal swab from a health care worker, like most older coronavirus tests. The Yale saliva test eliminates the need for a swab, but can only be performed in high quality labs.

About 690,000 Americans are currently tested per day, up from a peak of 850,000 daily tests at the end of last month, the AP reported. But many public health experts believe the country will soon have to test many more people as schools reopen and flu season arrives.

Since the start of the pandemic, nasal swab tests sent to a lab have been the standard for testing for COVID-19. Although considered very accurate, the tests rely on specialized and expensive machinery and chemicals. Shortages of these supplies have resulted in repeated delays in reporting results, AP reported.

“Those [rapid] Screening tests are what we need in schools, workplaces and nursing homes to catch asymptomatic spreaders, ‚ÄĚsays Dr Jonathan Quick, of the wire service. The non-profit group called on the United States to perform about 4 million a day by October, mostly rapid point-of-care tests.

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