US lab unveils portable 5-minute COVID-19 test
WASHINGTON, United States — A US-based lab has unveiled a portable test that can tell if someone has COVID-19 in as little as five minutes, it said in a statement Friday.
Abbot Laboratories said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorization to begin making the test available to healthcare providers as early as next week.
The test, which is the size of a small toaster and uses molecular technology, also shows negative results within 13 minutes, the company said in a press statement.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will be fought on multiple fronts, and a portable molecular test that offers results in minutes adds to the broad range of diagnostic solutions needed to combat this virus,” said Abbot president and chief operating officer Robert Ford.
The test’s small size means it can be deployed outside the “traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots,” Ford said, and Abbott is working with the FDA to send it to virus epicenters.
The test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA, and has only been authorized for emergency use by approved labs and healthcare providers, the company said.
New York City becomes a ghost town
NEW YORK, United States — The streets of New York, one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, are empty. There are so far 280 deaths in New York City, a tracker run by the Johns Hopkins University showed.
Social distancing appears to be slowing the spread of the coronavirus in New York, the epicenter of America’s pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
In his daily update on efforts to contain the deadly pandemic, Cuomo said projection rates suggested hospitalizations were increasing at a slower rate than before.
“The arrows are headed in the right direction,” he told reporters.
Cuomo said New York was still “on the way up the mountain” and wouldn’t meet the peak of declared cases for another three weeks.
But he added that projections showed that hospitalizations were now doubling every 4.7 days as opposed to every two days as was the case on Sunday.
The state’s almost 20 million residents have been confined to their homes since Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses closed on Sunday.
He said that the number of confirmed infections in Westchester County, the origin of New York’s outbreak, had “dramatically slowed” following a two-week containment.
New York has 30,811 declared cases, up by 5,146, Cuomo said Wednesday.
Almost 18,000 of those are in New York City, which reported almost 3,000 new cases, he added.
Some 192 people have died in the city, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.
After New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the Big Apple would run out of medical supplies by the end of the week, Cuomo assured residents there were enough to last more than a fortnight.
“Today, no hospital, no nurse, no doctor can say, legitimately ‘I don’t have protective equipment,'” he said.
“Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we have a supply. We have not yet secured supply for three weeks from now, four weeks from, now five weeks from now. But we are still shopping.”
He repeated that New York’s cases are projected to reach their peak in 21 days and that the state needs 30,000 ventilators by then.
He called on President Trump to introduce a “rolling deployment” whereby New York, as the worst hit, receives most of the country’s equipment, before passing it to other states.
“Send us the equipment that we need. Send us the personnel. As soon as we get past our critical moment we will redeploy that equipment and personnel to the next hotspot. I will personally guarantee it,” Cuomo said./ Agence France-Presse
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