The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved BinaxNOW, a 15-minute COVID-19 test from Abbott. This is a $5 test card that works similarly to a pregnancy test. The test can be done at home without visiting a specialized laboratory, whereas most of the COVID-19 tests available today must be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
It is the second rapid test for COVID-19. Previously, the company released the ID NOW portable mini-lab, which can analyze COVID-19 in five minutes. This laboratory test was intended for clinics and other institutions, but BinaxNOW is a more of a mass product. According to the FDA, the test can be used in doctors' offices, emergency rooms, and even schools.
Abbott has also developed a mobile application that provides access to and synchronization with the patient database. People who test negative for COVID-19 will receive a digital health pass through the application.
BinaxNOW refers to the type of tests that determine the patient's health status by the presence/absence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in their body.
BinaxNOW does a nasal swab test. The taken sample is inserted directly into the BinaxNOW card. If the result is positive, a colored strip appears on it.
In terms of accuracy, Abbott assures that the test correctly diagnoses the coronavirus infection in 97.1% of cases, while in the case of a negative result, its accuracy is even higher – 98.5%.
Tests that look for proteins, called antigen tests, tend to be less accurate than virus tests. However, some researchers argue that frequent, cheap testing with a less accurate test is the best way to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
By October, Abbott plans to release 50 million tests a month.
President Donald Trump plans to purchase 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests as part of a $750 million agreement with Abbott Laboratories.