Feb 6, 2020 - Health

FDA allows states to test for coronavirus for faster results

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shipped the diagnostic test for the novel coronavirus to more than 100 public health labs nationwide, allowing states to test for coronavirus cases themselves and receive results quicker.

Why it matters: The FDA bypassed usual regulatory channels to distribute the test under an Emergency Use Authorization, which has been used in life-threatening situations like MERS, Ebola and the Zika virus.

  • Before, specimens from all over the country had to be shipped to Atlanta to have their suspected cases validated. 
  • "This continues to be an evolving situation and the ability to distribute this diagnostic test to qualified labs is a critical step forward in protecting the public health," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

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CDC will have flu surveillance labs test for coronavirus

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Five public labs across the United States will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use its existing flu surveillance network to test individuals with flu-like symptoms for the novel coronavirus, the agency said Friday.

The big picture: The labs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York City will evaluate negative influenza tests for COVIS-19, in preparation for spread across the U.S. The agency plans to expand to more labs.

Full coverage: Coronavirus

CDC confirms 7th coronavirus case in the U.S.

Passengers traveling to Ghuangzhou, China takes precautions by wearing masks following an outbreak of the Coronavirus in China at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on January 31, 2020. Photo: Luke Dray / Stringer/Getty Images

A 7th coronavirus case has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where a man in the San Francisco Bay area became ill after traveling from Wuhan, China back to the U.S., the Santa Clara Health Department said Friday.

The big picture: Federal health officials expect more cases to be confirmed while the CDC continues to test cases and as state health departments remain on high alert. The U.S. on Friday declared a public health emergency and restricted travel based on the new virus's ability to spread from person-to-person.

Go deeper: Coronavirus: The latest developments

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

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