Written byShubham Sharma
The kit, developed by health care company Abbott, works without any specialized lab equipment and comes at a price-tag of just $5, which, experts say, would be extremely handy in scaling up mass-testing in the country.
Here's more about Abbott's new test.
Cleared for emergency use, Abbott's "BinaxNOW" rapid test runs on a simple coated-paper card and uses the same lateral flow technology as a pregnancy test.
All a medical professional has to do is take the patient's nasal swab, open the test card, add six drops of extraction reagent into a designated hole on it, and then insert the swab/sample directly into that hole.
Once the sample is inserted and the card is closed, BinaxNOW takes 15 minutes to give the result.
If the specimen carries COVID-19 antigen, small proteins on the surface of the coronavirus, the top window of the card will show two pink/purple lines, indicating that the patient is infected.
Meanwhile, in the case of negative detection, it will show just a single pink/purple line.
As for the level of accuracy, Abbott claims that its new test can correctly detect a positive infection 97.1% of the time while a negative case could be correctly identified 98.5% of the time.
This makes it far better than other antigen tests for COVID-19 that come with a turnaround time of 15 to 30 minutes.
Even though US has conducted more COVID-19 tests than other nations, the methods used until now have not reached everywhere, owing to their dependency on expensive lab instruments.
Now, Abbott's affordable and instrument-less BinaxNOW will change that scenario, allowing mass COVID-19 testings across the country, starting from doctors' offices and emergency rooms to schools, workplaces, and all other public sites.
"The availability of rapid testing for COVID-19 will help support overburdened laboratories, accelerate turnaround times and greatly expand access to people who need it," Dr. Charles Chiu, professor of laboratory Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told Forbes.
To meet the mass testing demand, Abbott has said that it will be manufacturing as many as 50 million BinaxNOW tests a month starting October.
Reports have also surfaced that the Trump administration is planning a $750 million deal with Abbott to secure 150 million of these $5 rapid antigen tests for the American population.
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