The New Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Julie Barrios

Abbott- BinaxNOW Kit

Citizens won’t have to wait days for COVID test results now. The FDA approved a new COVID-19 test that will be faster, easier, and cheaper, with no special equipment needed, and it will launch this October. 


The new Antigen diagnostic test, BinaxNOW, by Abbott Laboratories will be selling for $5, results will be provided in 15 minutes, and it’s the size of a credit card. This test does not require any machine or lab to process products. The company will ship tests in September and start testing at the beginning of October. A free of charge app named NAVICA is compatible with iPhone and Android devices to provide a digital health pass and a digital code that can be scanned to showcase a recent negative COVID-19 test.


“We intentionally designed the BinaxNOW test and NAVICA app so we could offer a comprehensive testing solution to help Americans feel more confident about their health and lives,” said Robert B. Ford, president and chief executive officer at Abbott Laboratories. “BinaxNOW and the NAVICA app give us an affordable, easy-to-use, scalable test, and a complimentary digital health tool to help us have a bit more normalcy in our daily lives.”


The simple test works by swabbing the nostril, less than 1 inch, unlike other COVID tests, to collect a sample. Only healthcare providers can perform this test and be given in some schools, ERS, or doctor offices. They combine the sample with a couple of drops of a chemical solution inside the testing card, and the coated strip interacts with sars cov2 antigens. Antigens are substances that cause the immune system to produce antibodies against diseases. After the 15 minute wait, the test strip would show up like a pregnancy test, positive or negative results. Patients suspected of COVID-19 can be given the test within seven days of symptom onset.


“It’s the responsible thing to do to get tested because there could be a person one may come across that may have an underlying problem,” stated Alan Torres, an x-ray technician administering COVID-19. “And if you’re healthy and are asymptomatic, it would be unfair for your fellow human to be susceptible to the virus.”


Every test in medicine has an absolute accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. Sensitivity is how efficiently the test recognizes a disease, and a test with a 100% sensitivity can detect a disease 100%. The more sensitive the test, there is a lower chance of having a false negative result. A false negative is when someone has the disease, but the test comes back negative. However, a test can also come back positive even though the person has the disease, which is called a false positive. When a test is 100% specific, then there is no chance for a false-positive result. A trial would preferably have 100% sensitivity and specificity; however, no test is ever perfect. 


The BinaxNOW test has a sensitivity of 97.1% and specificity of 98.5%. The FDA has stated that negative results with Abbott Laboratories’ test will need to be confirmed with a lab test and closely monitor it to make the test meet accuracy.


“Insurance plays a big role financially,” said Alan Torres, “Responsibility [does] also, because if they don’t have the money to pay for it, then they have to go to the free sites. And when they go to the free sites, they have you swab yourself, and how likely will a person swab in a correct manner to get the proper results?”


Having this new rapid COVID-19 test will be a step in the right direction to help with the circumstance that we are in. This will provide more testing we need and help others who cannot get a hold of getting tested.