Washington, March 22 (IANS) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised the first-ever rapid test that can diagnose COVID-19 disease in 45 minutes.

California-based company Cepheid is manufacturing the rapid test kits which would start shipping in the coming week, reports CNN.

“An accurate test delivered close to the patient can be transformative — and help alleviate the pressure that the emergence of the 2019-nCoV outbreak has put on healthcare facilities that need to properly allocate their respiratory isolation resources,” Dr David Persing, chief medical and technology officer at Cepheid, was quoted as saying in the report late Saturday.

More than a quarter of Americans are under a semi-lockdown under orders from governors of five states.

According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the confirmed cases of new coronavirus in the US reached 26,747 on March 22, with 340 deaths. Only China and Italy have higher levels of coronavirus cases than the US now.

US President Donald Trump last week claimed chloroquine – one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs — had been approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They’ve gone through the approval process – it’s been approved,” he said during a White House briefing.

The FDA, however, made it clear the drug has not been approved for treating those infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus.




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