Scripps Health launches 5-minute COVID-19 test

Posted at 11:10 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 13:53:13-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- Scripps Health Thursday announced the launch of the fastest available point-of-care test for detecting the coronavirus at its five hospital campuses in San Diego County.

The test, which will be used to screen for COVID-19 in hospitalized patients requiring quick diagnostic turnaround, can deliver a positive result in as little as five minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes, a hospital statement said. The diagnostic tool received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on March 27.

"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, toaster-sized portable device that uses molecular technology to deliver reliable and accurate results.

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.

According to Abbott, the patient's swab is put into a chemical solution and into the machine. Abbott says the solution cracks open the virus and releases its genetic material for ID NOW to read.

Dr. Gavin Cloherty, head of Abbott's Infectious Disease Research, said the quick results are especially ideal during the coronavirus pandemic.

"That enables a healthcare provider to see a patient, diagnose a patient and take the necessary interventions in a very short amount of time and can help prevent further transmissions to other people," he said.

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.

Spokespeople from both UCSD Health and Kaiser Permanente tell 10News they have also started using Abbott's ID NOW technology to test patients.

The tests are primarily given when a physician needs an immediate diagnosis on a patient.