US firm touts ‘5-minute test’

US firm touts ‘5-minute test’

FDA authorises Abbott device for emergency use in virus hotspots

A health worker takes a sample from a driver at a drive-through coronavirus disease testing centre at KPJ Damansara Hospital in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. (Reuters Photo)
A health worker takes a sample from a driver at a drive-through coronavirus disease testing centre at KPJ Damansara Hospital in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. (Reuters Photo)

A US-based pharmaceutical company says it has developed a portable test that can tell if someone has Covid-19 in as little as five minutes.

Abbott Laboratories said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorisation to begin making the test available to healthcare providers as early as next week.

The test, which is the size of a small toaster and uses molecular technology, also shows negative results within 13 minutes, the company said in a statement.

“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 Abbott president and chief operating officer Robert Ford.

The test’s small size means it can be deployed outside the “traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots”, Ford said, adding that Abbott is working with the FDA to send it to areas heavily hit by the virus.

The company cautioned that the test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA, and has only been authorised for emergency use by approved labs and healthcare providers.


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