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Rapid test developed in part by Rochester researchers

Monday, November 16, 2020

Researchers and patients in Rochester have played a role in developing rapid tests now being used inside schools and other facilities.

The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid test was developed in part with researchers at the University of Rochester and patients admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital who had suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Researchers say about 250 patients participated in the study for the new test, which is touted as producing accurate and fast results.

"We were pretty surprised when we saw the test. As high as it was for an antigen test like this, these are pretty great numbers to see," said Kian Merchant-Borna, with the U of R.

He says the tests are more than 97 percent accurate at detecting COVID-19 infections and even more effective at finding a negative case.

"To have a rapid test like this that requires no special instrumentation or testing equipment, you don't need technical personnel, and it's something small, easy, and disposable, and cost effective to make," said Merchant-Borna.

The tests are ideal for settings like schools, colleges, or nursing homes, according to Merchant-Bona. Right now, he says demand is very high, and the federal government is purchasing tens of millions of the tests from the company behind them.

"This is just yet another tool we can use to get our numbers under control and protect ourselves and each other," Merchant-Borna said.

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