The U.S. pharmaceutical company Abbott claims to have developed a coronavirus test kit that detects if someone is positive or negative for the virus within 5-15 minutes. The company has received the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the United States and is now preparing for the launch of this new Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening test.
The test, called ID NOW COVID-19, delivers positive results in just five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. It is based on the existing ID NOW test technology, which is widely used in the U.S. to detect influenza, strep throat, and respiratory syncytial virus that usually causes mild cold-like signs and symptoms.
What makes it different is it can be used outside the hospitals, such as urgent care clinics, or in more non-traditional places where people can have their results in a matter of minutes. The test units are about the size of a conventional toaster, lightweight (3 kg), portable, and can be placed anywhere.
“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, president, and chief operating officer, Abbott, in the 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.“
ID NOW COVID-19 test seems to be quite reliable, unlike other fast tests used in other countries as it uses the samples taken from the nose or the back of the throat, then mixed with a chemical solution that ‘breaks’ the virus and releases its RNA. The mix is inserted into the ID NOW system, which has the technology to identify and amplify selected sequences of the new coronavirus genome and ignore contamination from other viruses.
The company plans to manufacture and deliver 50,000 test units per day, starting April 1, to the U.S. healthcare settings. So don’t be surprised to see a dramatic increase in the number of cases, especially in the U.S., which have already reached the top of the world.