KEY POINTS

  • The USFDA gives its nod to a new point of care COVID-19 test
  • The device is from Abbott Laboratories and promises to deliver 5 minutes positive COVID-19 result and 13 minutes negative result
  • Abbott's ID NOW COVID-19 test is compact and portable and could be used almost anywhere

The number of persons diagnosed with COVID-19 pandemic is nearing half a million, with deaths climbing to over 22,000 as of this writing. Countries like Japan, Singapore, and South Korea have managed their cases well compared to other countries because of mass testing. Thankfully, the FDA now gives the green light to a 5-minute COVID-19 point of care testing that could be used almost anywhere.

Abbot ID NOW COVID-19 Test

The US Food and Drug Administration, recently, awarded Abbott Laboratories the emergency use authorization for the  ID Now COVID-19  test. The molecular test for the novel coronavirus strain is one of the growing numbers of point of care diagnostic tests that got approval from the agency. The ID NOW COVID-19 test, according to Abbott, is capable of delivering positive results in as fast as 5 minutes and negative results in just 13 minutes.

The ID NOW COVID-19 test could be used in various temporary screening locations, nursing homes, doctor's office labs, and clinics to detect the novel coronavirus strain in less than half an hour. The device is compact and portable, making it an ideal screening for almost any kind of health care setup. Abbott Laboratories plans to produce 50,000 tests per day beginning Apr. 1, John Frels, the company's Vice President of Research and Development, reveals.

Abbott An Abbott company logo is pictured at the reception of its office in Mumbai, India, Sept. 8, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Abbott President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Ford says that "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." The U.S. is struggling to provide an ample amount of COVID-19 test kits to detect the novel coronavirus with the outbreak now threatening to overwhelm hospitals in Washington, New York, and other areas. Initially, the testing was restricted to high-risk people.

But, the USFDA, recently, rushed out diagnostics developed by leading commercial testing companies following issues with the test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Is The Test Conducted?

With the ID NOW COVID-19 test, the patient is taken a swab from the back of the throat or nose. It is then mixed with a chemical solution that breaks the virus and deploys its RNA. After that, the mixture is placed into the ID NOW system.

The Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 device is a compact box that weighs below seven pounds. It houses a technology that identifies and magnifies select sequences of the COVID-19 genome and disregards contamination from other viruses.