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Rapid Test Can Detect Coronavirus in 5 Minutes

Rapid Test Can Detect Coronavirus in 5 Minutes

Saturday, 28 March, 2020 - 05:15
FILE PHOTO: An Abbott company logo is pictured at the reception of its office in Mumbai, India, September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

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


Abbott Laboratories said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorization 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 coronavirus epicenters.


The Abbott approval follows two other rapid tests cleared by regulators in the past week. Older laboratory-developed tests can take between 4 to 8 hours to deliver results.


Health experts say the US should be testing 100,000 to 150,000 people per day to track and contain the virus.


There are no official nationwide testing metrics, but private and public health labs currently report testing about 80,000 to 90,000 patients per day.


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