A new tool, given the green light by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week under an emergency use authorization, is likely to change the game on detection for COVID-19. Touted as the “fastest available molecular point-of-care test” the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test delivers results to medical professionals and patients in as little as five minutes.  

According to a press release from maker Abbott, the lightweight device is portable and uses molecular technology to ensure an increased level of accuracy. News of the test comes after weeks of complaints from state officials and the general public that the lag time in between COVID-19 testing and results could further contribute to the spread of the virus.

“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 B. Ford, president and chief operating officer of Abbott. “With rapid testing on ID NOW, health care providers can perform molecular point-of-care testing outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots.” 

The ID NOW COVID-19 test yields positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. (Photo: Abbott Industries)
The ID NOW COVID-19 test yields positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. (Photo: Abbott Industries)

The maker of the medical device says that 50,000 units of the ID NOW will be made available this week and give those on the front lines a “tremendous opportunity” to close the gap on testing. With its release, the turnaround time on knowing if one has been infected by the sometimes-fatal disease has gone from up to 10 days a few weeks ago to one short doctor’s visit. 

In one day Abbott predicts that the portable instrument—which analyzes swabs taken from the nose or back of the throat, then mixes with a chemical solution to bring forth a positive or negative result—will yield 50,000 tests per day and 5 million tests per month.  

Testing for COVID-19 continues to be worked on daily. Just last week UnitedHealth Group rolled out a self-swab test that gives patients a less-invasive option to be tested and provides health care workers an opportunity to safely distance themselves from potential COVID-19 sufferers. 

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

TOPICS: