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The diagnostic test, developed at the University of North Carolina Medical Center at Chapel Hill’s Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology Labs, was first available for use starting on Monday, according to a release from the university.
Melissa Miller, director of the Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology Labs, told the TODAY show results for the COVID-19 tests are available within hours.
“It takes four hours from the time we get the swab until we can have a result for the test,” she said.
Miller and her team started developing the test on Jan. 31 and had they found something that worked by mid-February, according to the TODAY show.
However, the UNC team had to wait another month for FDA approval.
“I suspect we could have tested between 2 and 3,000 patients during the time we were just checking boxes for the FDA,” Miller said. “There’s been a gross delay. I am a bit angry about it because I feel like we are capable of doing this testing. We could have been serving the public prior to now.”
UNC did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
Now that the tests are available to the public, Miller said they expect to be able to test 300 patients a day.
According to the press release, the tests will be available for inpatients at UNC Medical Center, UNC REX Hospital, UNC Health affiliate hospitals and a few UNC Health clinics.
“The ability to conduct in-house testing is a crucial step in our response to COVID-19,” Dr. Wesley Burks, UNC Health CEO and School of Medicine dean said in a statement. “Our ability to test patients and receive results in a matter of hours will help us to better understand the spread of the virus in our state and, most importantly, allow us to quickly move to treat positive patients and provide relief to patients who test negative.”