Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

FDA Approves Emergency Use of Coronavirus Test

By Mark Prvulovic - Feb 4, 2020 at 9:25PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Approved labs across the country can now test patients for the condition.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a press release Tuesday afternoon in which it approved the emergency use of a coronavirus test.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR diagnostic panel is a test that has been limited only to CDC laboratories. However, this authorization from the FDA will allow any lab in the country that's CDC-qualified to test for the coronavirus themselves.

Although the threat of an epidemic in the U.S. remains low according to the FDA, it was still declared a public health emergency by the Trump administration last week.

While the CDC test, which requires either a nasal or oral swab from a patient, is capable of detecting the coronavirus, it's not 100% foolproof. The FDA warns that negative results don't necessarily preclude an infection, and that the test should be used as a tool alongside direct patient observation.

Coronavirus blood test sheet beside a stethoscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

At the moment, there are 11 identified cases of coronavirus in the United States. Approximately 23,892 patients have been diagnosed worldwide, with there being 492 deaths so far.

A race to find a treatment

Companies are working around the clock to develop and test a potential treatment for the coronavirus. Gilead (GILD -0.40%) announced yesterday that a patient who was given remdesivir (the company's Ebola drug) saw their symptoms almost disappear. Trials in China are expected to begin as early as next week.

Smaller specialty vaccine developers are working on a potential treatment as well. Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna are two companies competing with not just the likes of Gilead, but also against other healthcare giants such as Johnson & Johnson and AbbVie.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Gilead Sciences, Inc. Stock Quote
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
$62.83 (-0.40%) $0.25
Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
$182.12 (-0.09%) $0.17
AbbVie Inc. Stock Quote
AbbVie Inc.
$153.14 (0.53%) $0.80
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Stock Quote
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
$1.95 (0.52%) $0.01
Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
$145.36 (0.76%) $1.09

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/27/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.