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FDA Approves New Quick Test to Detect COVID-19

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first quick test for COVID-19.

KTLA reports that the FDA approved the test on Friday and it was announced by Cepheid, the company working with the White House to develop the test that takes less than an hour to process

The authorization was made Friday and tests will begin shipping next week, according to a statement from California-based Cepheid, the company manufacturing the tests.

“During this time of increased demand for hospital services, Clinicians urgently need an on-demand diagnostic test for real-time management of patients being evaluated for admission to health-care facilities,” said Dr. David Persing, MD, Ph.D., chief medical and technology officer at Cepheid.

“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,” Persing added.

CNN reports that Vice President Mike Pence has been tested for the virus, but was present at the daily task force briefing:

Vice President Mike Pence announced during a Saturday news briefing on coronavirus response that more than 195,000 Americans have been tested for the virus as cases surpassed 22,000, with about half confirmed in New York. He noted that the number does not include county hospitals or health care labs around the country. Currently, only 19,343 tests have come back positive, Pence said.

Officials have urged Americans to use discretion before seeking a coronavirus test, advising them to be administered to people who are symptomatic and not for those who do not show signs that they could be infected with the disease.

“We want to remind Americans as Dr. Fauci will emphasize in a moment, if you don’t have symptoms, don’t do a test,” the vice president said Saturday.” It is another way that the American people can make sure that we are preserving the resources that our health care workers need to administer and support those who are dealing with the coronavirus and other illnesses.”

As officials work to increase the availability of the tests, they’ve also sought to make clear in what cases people should seek them.

“Bravolebrity” Andy Cohen announced that he’d tested positive for the virus, though he complained about the difficulty of getting the test. Considering New York has half of all reported cases of COVID-19, it makes sense that it would be more difficult to get one:

Screenshot/Twitter

Also making news was the FDA approval of compassionate use of the anti-malaria drug chloroquine for those afflicted with COVID-19:

Considering that we’re only a few weeks into widespread knowledge of the outbreak, the U.S. is moving in record time.

See the White House briefing here: