US lab unveils portable 5-minute COVID-19 test

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 28 2020 04:32 PM

US lab unveils portable 5-minute COVID-19 test 1
Medical director of infection prevention and employee health Dr. Seth Cohen shows a sample test kit at a drive-through clinic for coronavirus, flu and RSV, currently by appointment for employees at UW Medical Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 9, 2020. Lindsey Wasson, Reuters

WASHINGTON - A US-based lab has unveiled a portable test that can tell if someone has COVID-19 in as little as 5 minutes, it said in a statement Friday.

Abbott Laboratories said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorization to begin making the test available to health care 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 press 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 4 walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots," Ford said, and Abbott is working with the FDA to send it to virus epicenters.

The test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA, and has only been authorized for emergency use by approved labs and health care providers, the company said.