FDA-approved rapid COVID-19 test tested in Rochester | WHEC.com

FDA-approved rapid COVID-19 test tested in Rochester

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: September 24, 2020 06:27 PM
Created: September 24, 2020 05:42 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A $5 COVID-19 test that can give you results in 15 minutes, it sounds too good to be true but it was tested here in Rochester and the Food and Drug Administration just approved it for use nationwide.

The test itself is the size of a credit card. You open it, take out the swab and swab your nose, put it back inside the test and add a small drop of reagent, within 15 minutes it will give you a result. Right now, a medical professional still needs to administer it but the hope is that eventually any of us could do it ourselves at home. 

“It's a lot easier to use, a lot more comfortable to use and quicker as well,” said Kian Merchant-Borna, M.P.H., M.B.A., faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine, who is the site principal investigator of the study at URMC.

The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care (POC) diagnostic test detects the presence of COVID-19 antigens. It uses similar technology to that used in pregnancy tests. After the test processes, it will show either one line for a negative result or two lines for a positive result. Nearly 200 people here in the Rochester region have been part of a study testing its efficacy.

“The current testing that's out there is quite lengthy and requires a lot of laboratory equipment. There's about 700,000 tests that get done each day in the United States and with all the laboratory equipment and all personnel involved, it takes sort of somewhere the magnitude of $100 a test... so to have a $5 test that can be done pretty much anywhere with very minimal training is really exciting and a major milestone in this pandemic,” Merchant-Borna told News10NBC.  

A traditional COVID-19 test detects a virus’s genetic material so it’s typically more reliable than an antigen test but in this case, “it detected true positive 97% of the time and accurately classified individuals without the virus 98% of the time,” Merchant-Borna explained.  

Abbot is now shipping out 1 million tests per day, many to the federal government but the research is still on-going.

“Another important next step is how well this works in asymptomatic individuals so, all the individuals we enrolled in the trial were individuals expressing some sort of symptoms of COVID-19, so do you still get the same accuracy and individuals that don't have those symptoms, that’s one of the questions we’ll be working on,” Merchant-Borna said.

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