US approves rapid test that can detect coronavirus within 15 minutes

US approves rapid test that can detect coronavirus within 15 minutes as US death toll approaches 1,700

  • Abbott Laboratories announced it won FDA approval to market coronavirus test 
  • Illinois-based medical device maker expects to roll out test beginning April 1 
  • Company hopes to ramp up production to manufacture 50,000 tests per day 
  • Coronavirus cases in US surpassed 104,000 as of late Friday night 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Abbott Laboratories said on Friday it won the federal government’s marketing approval for a diagnostic test for the coronavirus that can deliver results to patients within minutes.

The medical device company based in Lake Bluff, Illinois, said that the test can be used in physicians’ offices and urgent care clinics as well as hospitals.

The United States now has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country, and hospitals have struggled to meet the demand to test thousands of people for the often-deadly virus.

The Food and Drug Administration granted the approval under its Emergency Use Authorization.

Abbott Laboratories announced it won FDA approval to market a rapid, portable diagnostic test (like the one seen in the above stock photo) that can detect coronavirus within minutes

The company said it plans to roll out the tests beginning April 1. Its company offices in Sunnyvale, California, are seen in the above stock photo

Abbott said in a statement that it plans to begin distributing the test next week and will ramp up manufacturing to 50,000 tests per day.

‘This is a significant leap forward,’ John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott, said in an interview with Reuters. 

‘You can get a positive result in five minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes. 

‘You can walk into a clinic and literally get results while you are there.’

The portable test will run on Abbott’s ID NOW platform.

It is the second test to be approved by the FDA that can be used directly in physicians’ offices and other community healthcare settings and promptly provide results to patients. 

Last week, the FDA approved a test made by Cepheid that can be used at the point of care.

‘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 Ford, president and chief operating officer at Abbott, in a statement.

Abbott received approval last week for a high volume, automated diagnostic test that can be used in laboratories and said at the time it would immediately distribute 150,000 of the tests around the country.

Between the two platforms, Abbott said it plans to produce 5 million tests per month.

The FDA has been rushing to approve tests for the coronavirus on an emergency basis and has approved others made by companies including Roche Holding AG and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

With the expansion of testing has come a surge in confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As of late Friday night, the US reported more than 100,000 cases. 

New Orleans rushed to build a makeshift hospital in its convention center Friday as troubling new outbreaks bubbled across the country.

While New York remained the worst hit city in the US, Americans braced for worsening conditions elsewhere, with worrisome infection numbers being reported in New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit.

‘We are not through this. We’re not even halfway through this,’ said Joseph Kanter of the Louisiana Department of Health, which has recorded more than 2,700 cases, more than five times what it had a week ago. 

The United States became the first country to surpass 100,000 infections on Friday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

New Orleans’ sprawling Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, along the Mississippi River, was being converted into a massive hospital as officials prepared for thousands more patients than they could accommodate. 

The preparations immediately conjured images of another disaster, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the convention center became a squalid shelter of last resort in a city that has braved a string of storm hits, not to mention great fires and a yellow fever epidemic in centuries past.

As the new health crisis loomed, economic catastrophe had already arrived in the city, where many already live in poverty and the tourism industry has screeched to a halt.

‘I’ve never been unemployed. But now, all of a sudden: Wop!’ said John Moore, the musician best known as Deacon John, who has no gigs to perform with much of the city shut down. 

‘It ain’t just me. It’s everybody.’

In New York, where there are more than 46,000 cases statewide, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 passed 6,000 on Friday, double what it had been three days earlier.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for 4,000 more temporary beds across New York City, where the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center has already been converted into a hospital.

‘This is going to be weeks and weeks and weeks,’ Cuomo told members of the National Guard working at the Javits Center. 

‘This is going to be a long day, and it’s going to be a hard day, and it’s going to be an ugly day, and it’s going to be a sad day.’

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York gave a rallying call to action to National Guard troops on Friday at the Javits Center in New York City where he said there had been another 134 deaths overnight in the state of New York . In the background, hospital beds that have been set up to take in patients 

President Donald Trump, after earlier rejecting Cuomo’s pleas for tens of thousands more ventilators, and the governor’s calls to use the Korean War-era Defense Production Act, invoked the law Friday, ordering General Motors to begin manufacturing the breathing machines.

Trump signed a $2.2trillion stimulus package, after the House approved the sweeping measure by voice vote. 

Lawmakers in both parties lined up behind the law to send checks to millions of Americans, boost unemployment benefits, help businesses and toss a life preserver to an overwhelmed health care system.

More than 595,000 people have contracted the virus around the world and about 27,000 have died. 

While the US now leads the world in reported infections, five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

Dr. John Brooks of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans remained ‘in the acceleration phase’ of the pandemic and that all corners of the country were at risk.

‘There is no geographic part of the United States that is spared from this,’ he said.

In a phone call Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told Trump that China ‘stands ready to provide support within its capacity,’ the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Trump, who has repeatedly referred to the outbreak as a ‘Chinese virus,’ struck a different tone Friday, tweeting after the call that ‘China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!’

In Europe, Italy recorded its single biggest 24-hour rise in deaths, with 969 more victims, to bring its total number of fatalities to 9,134. 

The country now has more than 86,000 cases, surpassing China to record the grim distinction of the second-most infections in the world, behind the US.   

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