FDA authorizes emergency use for first coronavirus antigen test
COVID-19 under a transmission electron microscope. Photo: Image Point FR-LPN/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized a new coronavirus antigen test produced by Quidel Corporation, a California-based diagnostic testing company.
Why it matters: Antigen tests deliver results quickly and are relatively easy to produce, though their results are less accurate than the standard tests the U.S. has been using so far.
What's happening: “We are ramping up manufacturing to go from 200,000 tests next week [week of May 11] to more than a million a week within several weeks,” Douglas Bryant, Quidel’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal.
- Quidel has currently provided roughly 36,000 "test-analyzer instruments" in doctors' offices and hospitals, per the WSJ.
Between the lines: Antigen tests create a greater chance of false negatives, CNBC reports, and a negative antigen result may need to be confirmed with additional testing. But, positive antigen test results are usually highly accurate.
The big picture: The U.S. will need coronavirus tests that can detect antigens, or the part of a pathogen that triggers an immune response, as part of a testing breakthrough needed to screen a large number of people for the virus, Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said in April.