All five Scripps hospitals have expanded their in-house testing with the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for detecting the novel coronavirus The diagnostic tool, which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on March 27, can deliver a positive result in as little as five minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes. 

“Testing is a critical part of the overall response to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health. “Today, Scripps moves that important tool to the front line of our fight against this devastating disease. The ability to deliver results in minutes at our hospitals for patients exhibiting possible symptoms of COVID-19 will allow our physicians to make faster and better decisions about delivering the best care needed.”

The assay runs on Abbott’s ID NOW infectious disease testing platform, a 6.6-pound, small toaster-sized portable device that uses molecular technology to deliver reliable and accurate results. There are currently 190,000 of the devices available in 21 states. The company is working fast to manufacture more. Each test costs about $40.

For COVID-19, the platform looks for the novel coronavirus RdRp gene in throat, nasal, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs taken from patients who might be infected.

The swabs are then put into a chemical solution and into the machine, according to Abbott, where the solution cracks open the virus and releases its genetic material for ID NOW to read.

The ID NOW system joins several other platforms already in use at Scripps laboratories for in-house testing for COVID-19, as well as outside testing capacity provided through Quest Diagnostics.

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