The test could eventually be used by everything from businesses to sports arenas to confirm negativity before allowing entry.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just given Abbott an emergency use authorization for a rapid coronavirus test that could dramatically change the testing conditions in the world. The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test fits in your pocket and can produce results in 15 minutes. The company has also developed a free smartphone app that provides the patient witha digital certificate of the test results. Each test only costs about $5, and Abbott is ready to manufacture tens of millions of tests as soon as September.
The new test could potentially be used in schools, businesses, and workplaces to determine rapid results, allowing them to open and keep infection from spreading. Clinical tests show the COVID-19 Ag Card test had a 98-percent accuracy rate used on patients that took the test within seven days of experiencing symptoms. The test still requires the use of a cotton swab to get a sample, but it's smaller than ones used with traditional tests.
BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test, courtesy Abbott
"The massive scale of this test and app will allow tens of millions of people to have access to rapid and reliable testing," said Joseph Petrosino, Ph.D., professor and chairman of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine. "With lab-based tests, you get excellent sensitivity but might have to wait days or longer to get the results. With a rapid antigen test, you get a result right away, getting infectious people off the streets and into quarantine so they don't spread the virus."
BREAKING: We’re launching an innovative COVID-19 rapid antigen test and a complementary mobile app. BinaxNOW is fast and...Posted by Abbott on Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Initially the tests will only be available for use in medical facilities by health professionals who have been trained to use it. This includes nurses, doctors, medical assistants, pharmacists, school nurses, and occupational health professionals. Abbott says it could ship as many as 50 million tests beginning in October. Currently the U.S. only produces about one million tests per day. Abbott also developed an earlier coronvirus rapid test called the ID NOW COVID test that required the use of a testing module to get results.