Test that can detect coronavirus in minutes gets U.S. approval

Abbott Laboratories said on Friday it won U.S. marketing approval for a diagnostic test for the coronavirus that can deliver results to patients within minutes and be used in physicians offices and urgent care clinics, as well as hospitals.

The United States now has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country, and hospitals have struggled to meet the demand to test thousands of people for the often-deadly virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the approval under its Emergency Use Authorization.

Abbott said in a statement that it plans to begin distributing the test next week and will ramp up manufacturing to 50,000 tests per day.

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“This is a significant leap forward,” John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott, said in an interview with Reuters. “You can get a positive result in five minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes. You can walk into a clinic and literally get results while you are there.”

The portable test will run on Abbott’s ID NOW platform.

It is the second test to be approved by the FDA that can be used directly in physicians’ offices and other community healthcare settings and promptly provide results to patients. Last week, the FDA approved a test made by Cepheid that can be used at the point of care.

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