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150 Million Rapid COVID-19 Tests from Abbott Begin Rolling out Across US

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 30 Sep 2020
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Image: BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test (Photo courtesy of Abbott)
Image: BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card rapid test (Photo courtesy of Abbott)
The US government has begun distribution of 150 million COVID-19 rapid point-of-care tests from Abbott (Lake Forest, IL, USA), doubling the number of tests that have already been performed across the nation.

In an update on the national coronavirus testing strategy, President Trump stated that the US had so far conducted 111 million COVID-19 tests, far more than any other country, more than the entire European Union and more than all of Latin America combined. President Trump also announced a plan to distribute 150 million Abbott rapid point-of-care tests in the coming weeks. Abbott had recently entered into a deal worth USD 750 million with the US government to supply 150 million BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card rapid tests for the detection of COVID-19 infection.

BinaxNOW is highly portable (about the size of a credit card), affordable at USD 5 and provides results in 15 minutes. The test uses proven Abbott lateral flow technology, making it a reliable and familiar format for frequent mass testing through their healthcare provider. It is intended for the qualitative detection of nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2 in nasal swabs from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider within the first seven days of symptom onset. With no equipment required, the device will be an important tool to manage risk by quickly identifying infectious people who are currently infected and who should isolate themselves to help prevent the spread of the disease.

President Trump revealed that out of the 150 million COVID-19 rapid POC tests from Abbott to be distributed across the US in the coming weeks, 50 million tests would be allocated to protect the most vulnerable communities, including 18 million tests for nursing homes; 15 million tests for assisted living facilities; 10 million tests for home, health, and hospice care agencies; and nearly one million tests for historically black colleges and universities, and also tribal nation colleges. Additionally, the US government plans to give 100 million COVID-19 rapid POC tests from Abbott to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and fast as they can.

“These new Abbott rapid point-of-care tests are easy to use and return results within just minutes. You’ll have a result at a maximum 15 minutes. Machine — no machine is required to process them,” said President Trump. “So, in the old days, when we just started this, you remember we’d go out and we’d have to find these massive laboratories with tremendously expensive equipment. Now we’re down to something that you’ll see that is really from a different planet.”

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