The Federal Food and Drug Administration has approved a device that that looks to be the fastest yet in terms of producing results, and that can do so on the spot right at point-of-care without requiring a round trip to a lab to detect COVID-19.
According to FDA officials, Abbott Laboratories has introduced the portable test device that can tell if someone is infected in as little as 5 minutes.
Offcials say Abbott received emergency clearance for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will begin production next week, with an output of about 50,000 per day.
The FDA said the device works by identifying a portion of the virus’ DNA in a patient, which makes it good at detecting the actual presence of the virus during infection, whereas other tests that search the blood for antibodies that are used in point-of-care settings can only detect antibodies, which might be present in recovered patients who don’t actively have the virus.
In New Jersey and N.Y., patients have reported having to go to extreme lengths to receive a test and endure long waits for results, even in cases where exposure was likely, and their symptoms match the COVID-19 profile.
Officials say before the FDA approval of Abbott’s rapid test, many of the Coronavirus tests recently approved earlier this month are used in large hospitals and academic medical centers.