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Johns Hopkins develops its own coronavirus test

Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore have created their own coronavirus test, which they hope will help address the need for more testing for COVID-19.

Doctors at Hopkins said the country needs more widely available tests that return results more quickly. That's why they created a test on their own, reports CBS Baltimore.

Hopkins began using the test on Wednesday and by Thursday night, they were to have tested 50 samples.

In coming weeks, doctors hope to be able to test as many as 1,000 people per day.

Hopkins is now one of several private hospitals stepping in to help alleviate the nationwide shortage of tests. Among others, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has also created its own test, CBS Minnesota reports.

Doctors Karen Caroll and Heba Mostafa helped develop Hopkins' test.

"I think every hospital that has a laboratory needs to be able to do this testing," Carroll said.

Mostafa told CBS Baltimore their work is essential to meet the increased need and demand for the test.

"We didn't expect this to become a pandemic," she said. And because of that, public health labs won't be able to handle all the required testing.

The new Hopkins test takes 24 hours to yield results, but Mostafa hopes she can shorten that to as little as three hours.

Back in February, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created its own coronavirus test but later announced it wasn't always accurate, rendering many results inconclusive.

Mostafa said there are precautions in place so that wont happen with the Hopkins test.

"If we have any inconclusive result, we will have a backup testing," she explained.

Carroll added that testing needs to start ramping up in the U.S. to help doctors better trace COVID-19.

"You really cannot implement your contact tracing if you can't identify people who have the disease," she said.

According to data from Johns Hopkins Medicine, data suggests that 80 to 85 percent of people who are infected will have mild to no symptoms, said Lisa Maragakis, Senior Director of Infection Prevention with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Doctors said that makes widespread testing even more important.

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