Abbott gets emergency-use approval for $5 rapid COVID-19 test

Abbott gets emergency-use approval for $5 rapid COVID-19 test
© getty: A box containing a 5-minute test for COVID-19 from Abbott Laboratories

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency use approval for rapid coronavirus tests by Abbott Laboratories on Wednesday. 

The Abbott tests, which can render results in 15 minutes as opposed to several days, are priced at about $5 each. The company plans to begin shipping them by the end of the month and to make 50 million tests a month by the beginning of October.

The tests can be conducted on the spot without relying on lab equipment, though they are known to be less accurate than laboratory tests. 

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“With no equipment required, the device will be an important tool to manage risk by quickly identifying infectious people so they don't spread the disease to others,” Abbott said in announcing the FDA’s emergency use authorization.

The company added that the tests "demonstrated sensitivity of 97.1% (positive percent agreement) and specificity of 98.5% (negative percent agreement) in patients suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider within the first seven days of symptom onset."

The tests, about the size of a credit card, use similar technology to at-home pregnancy tests, according to Bloomberg.

The emergency approval should allow the U.S. to greatly increase its testing capacity. More than 73 million tests have been performed in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

"The massive scale of this test and app will allow tens of millions of people to have access to rapid and reliable testing," Joseph Petrosino, professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said in a statement released by Abbott.