Skip to main content
Explore URMC



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.

Additional News Coverage



WROC Roc First





15 minute COVID-detecting nasal swab now FDA approved, tested at URMC

Friday, September 25, 2020

It takes just 15 minutes. That’s what researchers are saying about a new $5 dollar nasal test to detect COVID-19. A clinical trial for that test happened here in Rochester, at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and became FDA-approved on Thursday.

“I definitely think this will be a lot easier to swallow for the public,” said Kian Merchant-Borna M.P.H., M.B.A., faculty in the URMC Department of Emergency Medicine.

He said it takes four simple steps. First, you start with a nasal swab. And no – it doesn’t go all the way to the back of your nose and throat like other tests.

“That nasal swab goes into a card, folds in half with a little drop of solution, anywhere between five and 15 minutes will read out a result,” he said.

He said it works like a pregnancy test. The technology is called ‘Lateral Flow’.

“It’s decades-old technology, but just applied to a new antigen, that antigen being the surface proteins on the viral particles of Coronavirus,” said Merchant-Borna. And the results read like a pregnancy test too: you look inside a window on the card – if there’s one line it’s positive, two lines is negative.

Merchant-Borna says soon, this testing will be widely available to the public. Part of this is thanks to well over 200 local volunteers.

“These are individuals that came in with suspicion of COVID-19 and were asked to participate, and so those that were willing, we took a nasal swab from them which was then tested on this COVID-19 test,” he said.

He said for now, instructions advise that a health care professional administer the test – but eventually, anyone in their home will be able to use it. For that reason, he’s calling it a major milestone.

“What’s so unique about this particular test, is it doesn’t require any lab equipment or any trained or technical personnel,” said Merchant-Borna.

Read More: 15 minute COVID-detecting nasal swab now FDA approved, tested at URMC

Quick COVID-detecting Nasal Swab Card, Tested at URMC, is Approved for Use

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A $5 test that detects COVID-19 from a nasal swab within 15 minutes -- and has been evaluated in a clinical trial at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) -- has received FDA Emergency Use Authorization for use by doctors, nurses, school nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers.

“This is really exciting,” says Kian Merchant-Borna, M.P.H., M.B.A., faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine, who is the site principal investigator of the study and of the Emergency Medicine Industry Sponsored Research Program. “Eventually, anyone in their home will be able to use this, before you send your children off to school, or before you go to visit your grandparents. It’s the same technology as a urine pregnancy test, and just as easy to use.”

The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care (POC) diagnostic test, which is the size of a credit card and detects the presence of COVID-19 antigens, also provides a free phone app for persons who receive a negative result. The app will display a temporary encrypted digital health pass via a QR code (similar to an airline boarding pass). Businesses, schools, and other organizations will be able to view and verify the information on a mobile device.

Read More: Quick COVID-detecting Nasal Swab Card, Tested at URMC, is Approved for Use