A pair of medical companies have partnered to launch a new point-of-care blood test that can detect COVID-19 exposure, and it can do it in about 15 minutes.
Developed and manufactured by BioMedomics, with the help of medical device manufacturer BD (Becton, Dickinson, and Company), the new test detects antibodies in blood to confirm current or past exposure to the coronavirus.
The test has four simple steps: You prick your finger, drop it on the device, add a few drops of solution, and read the results in about 15 minutes. It works like a pregnancy test; only it swaps a body fluid—single line on the test good, multiple lines, bad.
The new test will be available through BD and distributed exclusively by Henry Schein to health care providers in the United States.
The antibodies are produced in response to the infection. The antibodies are typically present in the mid-to-late stages of the virus, but it can help tell people whether or not they were exposed. In essence, it solves one of the biggest problems, carriers who don't exhibit any symptoms.
According to Frank Wang, CEO of BioMedomics, the test was validated at hospitals and clinical laboratories in the U.S. and China.
The FDA recommends that results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude coronavirus infection.
The FDA hasn't reviewed the test, however, it is permitted for distribution and use under the public health emergency guidance.
BD plans to begin shipping tests this month and will have the capacity to supply more than one million tests over the next few months, with the ability to scale up based on market demand.