The Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization to Abbott Laboratories for the company's molecular test for the coronavirus, which will give U.S. hospitals another weapon to speed their diagnostic capabilities against the pandemic.
Abbott Laboratories stock was up more than 1.5 percent in after-hours trading on the news.
Abbott is immediately shipping 150,000 RealTime SARS-CoV-2 EUA tests, and company chairman and CEO Miles D. White said in a statement, "I'm proud of the Abbott team and what they've accomplished in such a short period of time, and I want to thank the Administration and the FDA for their partnership in making this happen."
The United States -- according to several published reports on the web-based COVID Tracking Project -- has lagged in testing.
Abbott is just the latest lab to receive the emergency use authorization. In the last week Hologic, Roche and Thermo Fisher Scientific have all received similar approval.
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Last week, the American Clinical Laboratory Association said in a statement that "the industry expects its capacity to be increased to more than 20,000 tests per day" because all of these companies' FDA-approved testing.
Abbott, which has a successful background in infectious disease diagnostic test development (it has been credited with developing the first HIV test), says it will be scaling up production at its U.S. manufacturing location to reach capacity for 1 million tests per week by the end of March.