March 30, 2020

USA: On March 13th Pres Trump Announced A New Public-Private Partnership To Expand Coronavirus Testing Capabilities Across USA. Abbott Launches A 5-Minute Virus Test for Use Almost Anywhere.

ABC News
written by Staff
March 13, 2020 👈

President Donald Trump on Friday announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities around the country.

The partnership will include drive-thru testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested. Here's how it will work:

The process begins on a website that is currently in development. Visitors will be prompted to fill out a screening questionnaire that will ask for information about symptoms, risk factors and possible exposure to another COVID-19 patient, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx explained.

If a test is warranted, visitors will be directed to a local screening center in their community. Trump said businesses like Walgreens, Walmart, CVS and Target have offered to provide space in their parking lots for the pop-up testing centers around the country.

The test will be shipped to a laboratory, and results will be displayed on the screening website in as little as 24 hours, Birx said.

The website could be ready by Sunday night, officials said, and results could be turned around in 24 to 36 hours.

Verily, a company under Google, confirmed that it is working to "help triage" people for screening. But the company offered no details about what the tool would look like or when it would launch.

The FDA approved a new test from Roche Diagnostics, which is expected to make "up to half a million additional tests" "available early next week," Trump said, adding that the FDA also hopes to authorize an application from Thermo Fisher within 24 hours. He said that would create 1.4 million more tests next week and 5 million within a month.

Still, Trump said that officials don't want people to take the test unless they have certain symptoms. "It's totally unnecessary," Trump said. He added, "This will pass."

The announcement came as the Trump administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available. Trump said he doesn't "take responsibility at all" for the slow roll-out of testing.

As part of his national emergency declaration, Trump also waived interest on federally held student loans and moved to prop up energy markets, by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve "'right up to the top." Click here to learn more.
written by Ryan Carter
Monday March 23, 2020

The City of Los Angeles has created an online sign-up site to screen people eligible for coronavirus testing.

The site, at, takes visitors through a series of questions to determine if you should get tested.

It includes questions such as whether someone has been exposed and what kind of symptoms they’ve been experiencing. Ultimately, if someone doesn’t meet the criteria, the site says so.

If someone qualifies, it enables the scheduling of a test.

In a tweet on Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city is offering the testing to residents of highest risk first — those who have symptoms such as shortness of breath, those over 65 and who have underlying conditions, and those who may been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days.

The action comes as testing is still limited across much of Southern California, even as the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.

Drive-up testing has rolled out in spots, such as in Riverside County over the weekend. Hospitals continue to take referrals, but a strapped lab infrastructure is still playing catch-up. There are lack of tests, but also the proper machines to do the tests, officials say. And wait times for a result can be up to four days.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms associated with the respiratory disease, which appear two-to-14 days after exposure, include fever, a cough and shortness of breath. While most people — including healthy young adults — will experience mild symptoms, the disease can be severe and possibly fatal for at-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with other health problems.

People with mild symptoms should not be tested for the virus, according to the L.A. County Public Health Department.

According to the county’s guidance, those who may be considered a priority for testing, “depending on clinical severity and community health relevance,” the department said in its Saturday statement, include:
  • Hospitalized patients whose diagnosis may inform decisions related to infection control or medical management
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities with COVID-19 symptoms
  • Adults above age 65 and individuals with chronic medical conditions who show COVID-19 symptoms
  • Residents and staff of correctional facilities and other congregate settings with COVID-19 symptoms
  • Healthcare personnel who show COVID-19 symptoms
  • People who fall in those categories and are mildly ill, the department said, should contact their health care provider by phone to discuss the need for testing.
For questions for the city, you can reach the Mayor’s Help Desk at 213-978-1028 or email You can also got to the city’s FAqs page at
Bloomberg News
written by Michelle Fay Cortez
Friday March 27, 2020

Abbott Laboratories is unveiling a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting.

The medical-device maker plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. The molecular test looks for fragments of the coronavirus genome, which can quickly be detected when present at high levels. A thorough search to definitively rule out an infection can take up to 13 minutes, he said.

Abbott has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “for use by authorized laboratories and patient care settings,” the company said on Friday.

The U.S. has struggled to supply enough tests to detect the virus, even as the outbreak threatens to overwhelm hospitals in New York, California, Washington and other regions. After initially restricting testing to high-risk people, and problems with a test designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. regulators have rushed out diagnostics made by the world’s leading commercial-testing companies.

“This is really going to provide a tremendous opportunity for front-line caregivers, those having to diagnose a lot of infections, to close the gap with our testing,” Frels said. “A clinic will be able to turn that result around quickly, while the patient is waiting.”

The technology builds on Illinois-based Abbott’s ID Now platform, the most common point-of-care test currently available in the U.S., with more than 18,000 units spread across the country. It is widely used to detect influenza, strep throat and respiratory syncytial virus, a common bug that causes cold-like symptoms.

The test starts with taking a swab from the nose or the back of the throat, then mixing it with a chemical solution that breaks open the virus and releases its RNA. The mixture is inserted into an ID Now system, a small box weighing just under 7 pounds that has the technology to identify and amplify select sequences of the coronavirus genome and ignore contamination from other viruses.

The equipment can be set up almost anywhere, but the company is working with its customers and the Trump administration to ensure the first cartridges used to perform the tests are sent to where they are most needed. They are targeting hospital emergency rooms, urgent-care clinics and doctors’ offices.

Last week, Abbott’s m2000 RealTime system got U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use in hospitals and molecular laboratories to diagnose the infection. That system can churn through more tests on a daily basis, up to 1 million a week, but it takes longer to get the results. Abbott plans to provide at least 5 million tests a month between the two systems.

Other companies are also rolling out faster testing systems. Henry Schein Inc. on Thursday said its point-of-care antibody test, which looks for evidence that a person’s immune system has already fought off the infection, was available. The blood test can be given at the point of care and delivers results in about 15 minutes, though it can’t be used to definitively diagnose a current infection.
UPDATE 3/30/20 at 4:06pm: Added info below.
UPDATE 3/31/30 at 2:22am: Added info below.

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