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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.

Go deeper: Coronavirus testing increasing, but still not good enough

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 16, 2020 - Health

Passengers tested ahead of Italy's first Mediterranean cruise since lockdown

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Cruise ship passengers were tested for the coronavirus on Sunday before setting sail for what is believed to be the first Mediterranean cruise since Italy's lockdown, AP reports.

Why it matters: Cruise ships were the source of some of the first coronavirus outbreaks in the world due to the high population density and close quarters that passengers live in. Over 600 passengers on the Diamond Princess were infected with the virus in February.

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