Watch CBS News

New rapid PCR COVID test receives FDA emergency use authorization

New rapid PCR COVID test receives FDA emergency use authorization 02:04

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A new rapid PCR COVID-19  test invented by Northwestern University faculty and Minute Molecular Diagnostics has received FDA emergency use authorization.

CBS 2's Meredith Barack reported Wednesday night this test will be a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.

As we learned earlier today, COVID cases are climbing in Asia and Europe. In Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, they are still sitting at a test positivity rate of 72 per 10,000 people -- some of the highest in the city.

The new testing device will not only produce the gold standard when it comes to accurate test results, but those results will be produced faster than we've ever seen before.

"What this will do is you won't have to make any sacrifices or compromises on quality and the accuracy of the test," said Minute Molecular Diagnostics President David Kelso.

Meet DASH-- short for diagnostic analyzer for specific hybridization. It's a new, highly sensitive, easy-to-use COVID-19 test, with the speed of an antigen test with the accuracy of PCR technology.

"This is just as fast as a rapid test, and from the user's point of view, it's a lot easier," Kelso said.

To use the DASH test, a nasal swab goes into a chamber within a small cartridge, and then inserts the cartridge into the testing unit.

"This machine is considerably less expensive. It is small, the size of a coffee machine, and it produces a PCR reaction in as little as 15 minutes," said Northwestern Professor Robert Murphy.

Both Murphy and Kelso say it doesn't require high technology and is easy to run. It will make community testing easier than ever before.

"We think we've got something very robust that can go in a lot of locations," Kelso said, "It works off of 12 volts, you can plug it in anywhere. It can operate in hot environments and cold environments."

Most importantly, Kelso says, the tests will do what all tests have set out to do these past two years -- but more quickly.

"We're testing somebody not just to tell them they need care, but to prevent them from infecting other people," he said. "So you're actually saving more than just one life."

Kelso says that they are working on getting dash rolled out to the public in time for next flu season.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.