America could soon have in its increasingly hot little hands a coronavirus test that turns around results in about 45 minutes, reports CNN, after the FDA approved the first such rapid test on Friday. The diagnostic comes from manufacturer Cepheid, and tests should begin shipping next week. Cepheid's test is a far cry from current turnaround times, which range from 24 hours to four days, and could cripple the nation's health care system if physicians are unable to rapidly diagnose patients. One CEO of a large hospital system called that lag time "unacceptable." "Clinicians urgently need an on-demand diagnostic test for real-time management of patients being evaluated for admission to health-care facilities," says Cepheid's CEO.
In another development on the testing front, Fox News reports on the emergence of home testing kits, including an offering from Nurx. Customers go online, fill out a form with their symptoms, and mail in a testing kit for $181. "We don’t look for the severity of symptoms, only the presence of them," a rep says, though she cautions that "people with truly severe symptoms should also seek immediate care." These advances don't mean everyone should run out and get tested: "If you don't have symptoms, don't do a test," Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday. "It is another way that the American people can make sure that we are preserving the resources that our health care workers need to administer and support those who are dealing with the coronavirus and other illnesses." (Pence himself, however, did get tested after a staffer tested positive.)