This photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency’s campus in Silver Spring, Md. U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test that administration officials have touted as a key to opening up the country. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, May 9, 2020, announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

This photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency’s campus in Silver Spring, Md. U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test that administration officials have touted as a key to opening up the country. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, May 9, 2020, announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

New coronavirus antigen test with fast results approved

U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test.

By TOM KRISHER

Associated Press

U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test that administration officials have promoted as a key to opening up the country.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs swiped inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement.

The antigen test is the third type of test to be authorized by the FDA.

Currently, the only way to diagnose active COVID-19 is to test a patient’s nasal swab for the genetic material of the virus. While considered highly accurate, the tests can take hours and require expensive, specialized equipment mainly found at commercial labs, hospitals or universities.

A second type looks in the blood for antibodies, the proteins produced by the body days or weeks after fighting an infection. Such tests are helpful for researchers to understand how far a disease has spread within a community, but they aren’t useful for diagnosing active infections.

Antigen tests can diagnose active infections by detecting the earliest toxic traces of the virus rather than genetic code of the virus itself.

The FDA said that it expects to authorize more antigen tests in the future.

Quidel said Saturday that the test can provide an accurate, automated result in 15 minutes. The FDA’s emergency authorization “allows us to arm our health care workers and first responders with a frontline solution for COVID-19 diagnosis, accelerating the time to diagnosis and potential treatment,” Douglas Bryant, CEO of Quidel, said in a statement.

A genetic material test by Abbott Laboratories used at the White House also takes about 15 minutes.

The company said it specializes in testing for diseases and conditions including the flu and Lyme disease.

Quidel stock has more than doubled in value since the beginning of the year, closing Friday at $158.60.

The U.S. has tried to ramp up testing using the genetic method, but the country’s daily testing tally has been stuck in the 200,000 to 250,000-per-day range for several weeks, falling far short of the millions of daily tests that most experts say are needed to reopen schools, businesses, churches and other institutions of daily life.

That’s led White House adviser Dr. Deborah Birx and other federal officials to call for a “breakthrough” in the antigen tests.

“There will never be the ability on a nucleic acid test to do 300 million tests a day or to test everybody before they go to work or to school, but there might be with the antigen test,” Birx told reporters last month.

Recently, the National Institutes of Health announced $1.5 billion in research grants aimed at fast-tracking the development of rapid, easy-to-use testing approaches — including antigen tests — by the fall.

• This is an Associated Press report.

More in News

It's a police car until you look closely. The eye shies away, the . (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Juneau Police Department is asking for community assistance as they search for suspects involved in a June break-in at Glacier Gardens. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file)
Police seek info on Glacier Gardens break-in

The break-in resulted in thousands of dollars of damage.

It's a police car until you look closely. The eye shies away, the . (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, July 30, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Thursday, July 29

The most recent state a local figures

Karen Harris took a walk up Basin Road at around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday , according to Juneau Police Department. At 9 p.m., police reported she was home safe. (Courtesy Photo / JPD)
Update: Overdue woman home safe

Police say she is safe.

Courtesy Image / Sealaska Heritage Institute 
Rico Lanáat’ Worl’s “Raven Story Forever” design is shown. There will be a release ceremony for the stamp on Friday.
Release ceremony planned for Raven stamp

Public is invited, but it will also be livestreamed.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, July 29, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Shoppers wear masks inside of The Cool store in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday, July 27, 2021, on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. City and Borough of Juneau officials are considering extending local mitigation measures that advise residents to wear masks when in indoor public spaces. (AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez)
City assembly to revisit mitigation measures

A special meeting is set for Wednesday evening

Most Read