Molecular diagnostic company Cepheid obtained emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday to use rapid tests for new coronavirus (Covid-19).
The test, called SAR-CoV-2 Xpert Xpress, is intended to be administered to patients in care settings and can detect the virus that causes COVID-19 disease in 45 minutes, being the fastest test that can do so, according to statement companies.
While most tests require days to find the result, Cepheid explained that in this case, it takes minutes to prepare the patient sample and about 45 minutes to produce the result, the Cepheid website shows.
“In this period of increased demand for hospital services, physicians urgently need on-demand diagnostic tests for the real-time management of patients being evaluated for hospitalization,” said Dr. David Persing, director of medicine and technology at Cepheid.
“A correct test performed close to the patient can be transformative and can help alleviate the pressure exerted by the Covid-19 epidemic on the medical units that need to properly allocate respiratory isolation resources,” added Persing.
Cepheid will use its GeneXpert System for testing, of which there are more than 23,000 worldwide and 5,000 in the United States, the release said.
GeneXpert Systems “does not require users to have special training to perform the test,” added Cepheid President Warren Kocmond.
According to CNBC, the tests will start delivering next week, and the product will be in use by the end of March.
Until March 21, at least 21,000 coronavirus cases and 267 deaths have been confirmed in the United States.
President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency in the United States on March 13, as the number of cases increased. However, the number of cases is unknown, largely because of the lack of test kits.
Epidemiologists have said that Americans should start practicing social spacing, meaning staying in homes as much as possible, keeping a distance of about 2 meters from each other, and maintaining strict hygiene, to limit the risk of asymptomatic people spreading the virus.