FDA approves new test that can detect coronavirus in 45 minutes

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised the use of the first rapid diagnostic test that could detect the coronavirus in approximately 45 minutes. Tests will begin this week, according to a statement from California-based Cepheid, the company manufacturing the tests.

Clinicians say faster testing will help alleviate some of the pressure on hospital resources. The new test is a significant advancement because some patients have complained it took them days to get results. Testing is the vital first stage of a coronavirus response, as it allows health officials to isolate cases before they have the opportunity to spread. Millions of tests are conducted every day. Currently, only people who have recently visited certain affected areas such as China or Italy need to submit themselves for testing.
The Chief Medical and Technology officer at Cepheid, Dr. David Persing, said: “During this time of increased demand for hospital services, Clinicians urgently need an on-demand diagnostic test for real-time management of patients being evaluated for admission to health-care facilities. “An accurate test delivered close to the patient can be transformative – and help alleviate the pressure that the emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak has put on healthcare facilities that need to properly allocate their respiratory isolation resources,” Persing added. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert, said not every single person needs to get tested. Concerns have arisen that current test methods are taking too long to return.

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