Abbott Laboratories’ newly approved five-minute coronavirus test ships tomorrow, April 1.
The Illinois-based medical device company received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration two weeks ago for emergency use.
Abbott said it increases production to 50,000 nasal swabs – known as ID NOW COVID-19 – per day.
Company officials say the test can be used anywhere, including hospitals, emergency clinics, and even doctor’s offices.
The US has more cases of the virus than in other countries, but health professionals are still struggling to keep up with demand and test the thousands of people needed to contain the new coronavirus.
Abbott Laboratories’ new coronavirus test (photo) that can detect a positive result in just five minutes was approved by the FDA last week
The medical equipment company, located in Illinois (pictured), expects to roll out the first batch of 50,000 from April 1
President Donald Trump (pictured) presented the test to reporters Monday at a news conference, calling it “ very accurate. ”
“This is a big leap forward,” said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott, in an interview with Reuters.
‘You can achieve a positive result within five minutes and a negative result within 13 minutes. You can walk into a clinic and literally get results while you are there. ‘
President Donald Trump presented the new machine at a news conference and Monday, even doing a small show-and-tell.
“This is the first on the line,” Trump said as he took the test out of the box and called it “very accurate.”
He explained that the FDA approved Abbott’s new test in just four weeks, as opposed to the usual months-long timeline.
“A point-of-care test is a test that gives you a result you care about,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn.
“Just like with flu or streak tests, where you go to the doctor, you get the test done, you can get an answer in minutes if this test is done.”
It is the second FDA-approved test that can be used directly in doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities in the community and can provide immediate results to patients.
Last week, the FDA approved a Cepheid-made test that can be used in healthcare.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will be tackled on multiple fronts, and a portable molecular test that delivers results in minutes adds to the wide range of diagnostic solutions needed to fight this virus,” said Robert Ford , president and chief operating officer at Abbott, in a statement.
Abbott’s CEO, Miles White – who is retiring today – told it CNBC on Monday that, despite 50,000 tests a day that sound like a significant number, this may not be enough.
The company “spends a lot of effort … on capacity expansion because, while 50,000 a day sounds a lot, it is not enough … and for a while we will allocate and prioritize areas of high need,” said White.
“We know that fighting this virus and going back to a more normal world will require a lot of testing in the right places with a fast turnaround time, and luckily we have multiple formats for doing that.”
Worldwide, there are more than 803,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 39,000 deaths.
In the US, more than 164,000 people are infected and more than 3,000 people have died.