The Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked the approval process for a new viral test that can detect multiple strains of COVID-19 and influenza in fewer than three hours.
The new test, which requires only a single sample and can differentiate between variants of COVID-19 from South Africa and the U.K., was developed by Becton, Dickinson and Company. The company said the test is 99.9% accurate in detecting these variants.
The FDA's emergency authorization allows the test to begin immediate public use, with a specific focus on hospitalized patients, and allows doctors to better tailor specific treatments.
"Since COVID-19 and Flu often present with similar symptoms, such as fever and dry cough, having a single specimen for accurate diagnosis speeds time to results and helps clinicians determine the right care more quickly to help prevent community transmission," said Dr. Charles K. Cooper, the company's vice president of Medical and Scientific Affairs for Integrated Diagnostic Solutions.