FDA Greenlights 15-Minute Coronavirus Test

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Abbott Laboratories has been given the greenlight by the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization for its $5 rapid antigen test for the coronavirus.

The test, called the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card, is roughly the size of a credit card and is administered by a healthcare professional using a nasal swab. BinaxNow uses lateral flow technology, similar to an at-home pregnancy test, to search for virus proteins and is intended to be used for patients within seven days of feeling coronavirus symptoms. The test can provide results in up to 15 minutes.

According to Abbott, the test has a demonstrated sensitivty, or the percent of positive cases that it can accurately detect, of about 97%.

Read more at Fox Business.



  1. If it really has a 97% accuracy rate it would also eliminate all those false positives,
    Florida is inundated with false positives. It’s so bad there that people who were not even tested have also received positive results!
    Four NY Mets games were canceled recently due to 2 false positives. 77 NFL players recently were given false positives which sent the league into a panic for no reason.

    • The accuracy rate is not 97%. The accuracy rate would depend on the mix of cases and non-cases in the population being tested. The 97% is the fraction of actual cases it accurately detects — the sensitivity. More important is the specificity, the fraction of non-cases it accurately classifies. Clicking on the article you can link to the press release saying that that the test is claimed to have 97.1% sensitivity and 98.5% specificity. That is a 2.9% false negative rate and a 1.5% false positive rate. However, the press release does not say what population was tested; false positive and false negative rates can vary even with the same test.

      (Yes, epidemiology isn’t trivial. I teach this stuff to medical students.)

  2. Positive, negative, who cares? It’s all shtus anyhow. Why should anyone take a test? What do they gain from it? If they’re sick, they take some medication and stay home until they feel better and if they’re not sick, why take a nonsensical test? This is indeed the policy for most chareidiim.

    • There are no medicines that have been proven to help COVID-19. However, if you are sick, you should indeed stay home. The problem is people who may have been exposed but show no symptoms; they can transmit the disease for days before symptoms develop — and some people have such mild symptoms that they don’t realize that they could kill someone if they don’t stay home.

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