A new COVID-19 test can return results in 5 minutes

Abbott’s ID NOW system. | Abbott

A new COVID-19 test from the medical device company Abbott can return positive results in five minutes — and it can be run in a doctor’s office. The test was approved for emergency use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration last night.

The test uses Abbott’s small, portable ID NOW platform, and doesn’t have to be sent to a central lab for analysis. Instead, it can be done directly in an emergency room or urgent care clinic, which could cut down on the days-long wait time some patients now face for test results. Doctors could take a swab from a patient’s nose or throat and insert it directly into the machine, and have results within 15 minutes (it can take up to 13 minutes if the sample is negative for the virus).

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