As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state laboratories grapple to keep up with the growing demand for coronavirus testing, the Mayo Clinic has developed its own test for the novel virus in a bid to “ease the burden” on the federal and state health agencies.
The medical center announced in a statement on Thursday that it has developed a test that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus — which causes COVID-19 — in clinical samples (such as nasal and throat swabs) from suspected coronavirus patients. The results from the test will be available “within 24 hours,” said Matthew Binnicker, a clinical microbiologist and director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“We have the expertise to create tests such as this one, and we felt it was our obligation to help ease the burden that the CDC and public health laboratories are feeling at this time,” he added.
The samples will also be sent to the CDC or the Minnesota Department of Health “for appropriate follow-up testing and confirmation,” per the statement, which noted the results will then “be communicated with public health officials, per their respective guidelines.”
The test, called “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS CoV-2), Molecular Detection,” has been “fully validated.” Data from the test “will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review and emergency use authorization,” officials said.
As coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., the quest to combat the global pandemic is being hampered by testing kit shortages and a fear that the materials needed to make more may soon run dry.
Officials estimate that only around 8,500 people in the U.S. have thus far been tested for the pathogen, sparking fear that the numbers who have contracted it – and are continuing the spread – may be drastically higher. Meanwhile, other countries encountering a severe outbreak, such as South Korea, are said to be testing upward of 10,000 people per day.
Fox News’ Hollie McKay contributed to this report.