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FDA Approves Abbott Labs Rapid COVID-19 Test As Outbreaks In US, Brazil & Africa See Sharp Declines: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Abbott Labs has become the focus of Thursday's rolling coronavirus coverage, as the FDA's approval – coming just days after the whole patient plasma approval controversy – of Abbott's 15-minute rapid COVID-19 test – which will be priced at just $5 a pop – has quelled fears about falling testing numbers along the sun belt. Now, parts of the country where test turnaround times still lag finally have a solid chance of getting up to speed.

What's more, testing that's rapid, plentiful and cheap is the centerpiece of what many experts have embraced as a "sustainable" alternative to lockdowns: Regular testing. Even if the rapid tests aren't as accurate, the logic goes, teachers and students and co-workers will be tested so regularly that nearly all positive cases should be caught before becoming contagious.

Abbott shares are soaring on the triumph, though the FDA has approved other testing innovations like at-home testing kits.

Abbott's product, BinaxNOW, works without laboratory equipment, and involves using a nasal swab and a small reactive card, which will deliver the result within minutes akin to an at-home drug test. The test can be administered by a range of health-care workers, including, crucially, pharmacists, at almost any location.

Moving on, experts rejoiced on Thursday as the latest batch of global data showed outbreaks in the US and Brazil continuing to slow, while new hotspots in Argentina and elsewhere simply aren't spreading fast enough to make up for the falling case numbers in the world's biggest outbreak zones.

Deaths have been declining, too, with some experts proclaiming that the downward trend seen over the past two weeks is likely to hold.

In the US, the average number of new deaths over the past week dipped below 1,000. Perhaps the irony is that the US is now technically worse than Brazil in terms of cases/population.

The US remains no. 1 in practically every other aspect.

Jared Kushner spoke to the press Thursday morning following news of a new deal with AstraZeneca for the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine that the US is on track to keep its promise of having 100 million doses of a vaccine by the end of the year.

But perhaps the biggest news in the Americas is that Argentina's outbreak has now overtaken Iran's.

Across the US, the outbreak is solidly in decline.

Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's John Nkengasong reported some optimistic news on Thursday. Fears that Africa's outbreak was on the cusp of a major escalation have abated as 23 of Africa's 54 countries have reported a sustained decrease in new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, in the latest testament to just how difficult COVID-19 can be to stamp out, South Korea's parliament has closed after a photojournalist covering the governing party tested positive on Wednesday. The closure comes as the country reported 441 additional coronavirus cases (prev. +320). Health officials urged businesses to ask employees to work from home as the new cases were the largest single-day tally since March, the latest in a series of multimonth highs recorded in recent days.

Finally, India recorded another single-day record of new coronavirus cases with 75,760 new infections reported over the past 24 hours. The Indian health ministry also reported 1,023 deaths, pushing the country's death toll from the pandemic to 60,472.


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