A new coronavirus test has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. Its maker Cepheid says it has a detection time of 45 minutes — four times faster than any other test.
Cepheid uses a testing machine called GeneXpert. These machines will likely be used only in urgent situations, when patients are already in the hospital. They'll also be used on health care workers who may be sick to see if they can keep working.
On Saturday, the company's Chief Medical Officer explained that with slower testing speeds, hospitals sometimes have to begin treating a patient before the coronavirus is confirmed. That can lead to patients who don't have the illness being cared for along with patients who do.
He said: "So the results are available much more quickly. And that means that those results will play into how those patients are managed: who gets respiratory isolation, who needs antibiotics, who doesn't need antibiotics."
The company says it has nearly 5,000 of the machines, and test kits will be shipped this week.