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A new test for COVID-19 that can be run from a doctor's office and gives results in five minutes was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.
The test developed by medical device company Abbott uses the company's portable ID NOW platform and does not require a central lab for analysis, saving precious time for medical workers and patients.
Doctors can swab someone's nose or throat and insert the swab into the machine, getting results in five to 15 minutes (results can take longer if a sample tests negative, but can take only five minutes if the person tests positive).
In addition, the tests can be done in an emergency room or urgent care clinic, which may help cut down on wait times across the country. The company will begin making the tests available next week and plans to ramp up manufacturing to deliver 50,000 tests per day.
"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 Robert B. Ford, Abbott's president and chief operating officer, in a press release. "With rapid testing on ID NOW, healthcare providers can perform molecular point-of-care testing outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots."
As of Monday afternoon, there were more than 148,000 cases in the U.S. and 2,599 deaths resulting from the novel coronavirus.
Medical companies across the world are racing to produce tests that provide fast, accurate results as a way to assist overwhelmed medical workers and maxed-out hospitals.