In what could be the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), US-based healthcare technology maker Abbott has unveiled a test that can deliver positive results in as little as five minutes.
The test can also be used outside the four walls of a traditional hospital such as in the physicians' office or urgent care clinics.
Abbott on Friday said it has received emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the test.
Testing remains a crucial step in controlling the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing to supply healthcare providers with new technologies to help curb the spread of infection is a top priority for public health officials and healthcare providers.
Molecular point-of-care testing for COVID-19 offers healthcare workers rapid results in more settings where people show up for care.
Molecular testing technologies help detect the presence of a virus by identifying a small section of the virus' genome, then amplifying that portion until there's enough for detection.
This process can cut testing wait time from hours, if not days, to as little as five minutes for positive results and 13 minutes for negative results.
The new Abbott ‘ID NOW COVID-19' test runs on Abbott's ID NOWTM platform -- a lightweight box (6.6 pounds and the size of a small toaster) that can sit in a variety of locations.
Because of its small size, it can be used in more non-traditional places where people can have their results in a matter of minutes, bringing an alternate testing technology to combat the novel coronavirus.
Abbott said it is ramping up production to deliver 50,000 ID NOW COVID-19 tests per day, beginning next week, to the U.S. healthcare system.
"Through the incredible work of teams across Abbott, we expect to deliver 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day to healthcare professionals on the front lines, where testing capabilities are needed most," Chris Scoggins, Senior Vice President, Rapid Diagnostics, Abbott, said in a statement.
This comes on the heels of Abbott's announcement last week of the availability of the Abbott RealTime SARS-CoV-2 EUA test.
Combined with ID NOW, Abbott expects to produce about 5 million tests in April.
When not being used for COVID-19 testing, ID NOW is the leading molecular point-of-care platform for Influenza A&B, Strep A and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) testing.
The platform holds the largest molecular point-of-care footprint in the US and is already widely available in physicians' offices, urgent care clinics, and hospital emergency departments across the country.
It should be noted that the 'ID NOW COVID-19 EUA' has not been FDA cleared or approved. It has been approved by the FDA under an emergency use authorisation for use by authorised laboratories and patient care settings.