COVID-19: US lab unveils 5-minute COVID-19 test

By AmaraChrista

A staff member of the health authorities of the southern federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg demonstrates on a negative sample the test for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, in a laboratory in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on March 2, 2020. – The death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic surpassed 3,000 on Monday, March 2, 2020, as more people died in China, Iran and the US and Europe raised its state of alert. EU president Ursula von der Leyen said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) had increased its risk assessment for Europeans after Italy’s outbreak doubled in 48 hours.

A US-based lab has unveiled a portable test that can tell if someone has COVID-19 in as little as five minutes, it said in a statement Friday.

Abbot Laboratories said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorisation to begin making the test available to healthcare providers as early as next week.

The test, which is the size of a small toaster and uses molecular technology, also shows negative results within 13 minutes, the company said in a press statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will be fought on multiple fronts, and a portable molecular test that offers results in minutes adds to the broad range of diagnostic solutions needed to combat this virus,” said Abbot president and chief operating officer Robert Ford.

The test’s small size means it can be deployed outside the “traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots,” Ford said, and Abbott is working with the FDA to send it to virus epicentres.

The test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA, and has only been authorized for emergency use by approved labs and healthcare providers, the company said.

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