To help officials test more people for COVID-19, the US FDA has approved a new 15-minute test kit. You just have to buy the test for $5, and it will work the same way as a pregnancy test. Healthcare company Abbott developed the kit.
The New COVID-19 Test Kit
The Verge reports that the new FDA-authorized test is called BinaxNOW. To boost the app, Abbott is also rolling out an app that syncs with the test. If the test gave you a negative result, the app would upload a “digital health pass” to your phone. You can show this pass to health officials.
— The Verge (@verge) August 27, 2020
Abbott CEO Robert Ford said that the two functions make BinaxNOW a “comprehensive” testing option. The company plans to produce 50 million units a month, starting in October.
Who Can Use BinaxNOW?
Almost every doctor can use BinaxNOW, from doctors in clinics and emergency rooms to doctors in schools. For testing, you have to get a nasal swab. Doctors would insert the swab into the BinaxNOW card. You’ll know if you have COVID-19 if you see a colored line on the card.
How Does BinaxNOW Work?
The Verge says BinaxNOW checks for the “small proteins on the surface of the coronavirus.” Tests that use proteins are called antigen tests, and they can be less accurate than other tests. However, scientists believe that even less accurate tests can control COVID-19 because you can still test more people more often.
According to Abbott, BinaxNOW can correctly identify COVID-19 at a rate of 97.1%. The test also returns a correct negative result at a rate of 98.5%.
If this test works, Americans won’t have to wait long for results. Currently, you have to wait for weeks before getting your results back from the lab.