FDA Issues Emergency Approval for Coronavirus Test

February 6, 2020by New York Daily News
A woman with a facial mask passes the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 3, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. (Johannes/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

The federal government has issued an emergency order allowing its coronavirus test to be used by state health labs nationwide, speeding up efforts to detect and contain new cases of the mysterious new illness.

Since the first cases of the pneumonialike virus were confirmed in the U.S. last month, the test could only be done at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own labs.

But the rapidly growing outbreak, which is concentrated in China, has since been declared a public health emergency in the U.S. as officials race to keep the number of cases in this country as low as possible.

“This continues to be an evolving situation and the ability to distribute this diagnostic test to qualified labs is a critical step forward in protecting the public health,” Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in a statement Tuesday.

Test kits were expected to be shipped to more than 100 labs across the U.S. within the next few days. Starting next week, potential new cases will be confirmed by those labs directly, instead of the CDC, the federal agency announced Wednesday.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the new measures would “greatly enhance” the government’s capacity to test and treat new cases and will set the path for the kits to be available commercially in the near future.

The newly discovered virus has sickened 11 people across five U.S. states _ Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington. But the number of confirmed cases in mainland China was close to 25,000 on Wednesday, with 490 deaths.

Most of the patients affected so far are from central China’s Hubei province, where the virus-stricken city of Wuhan is located. The first confirmed cases are linked to a large animal and seafood market in that city, though the exact source of the virus remains unknown.

The viral infection can cause respiratory illness and most patients have developed mild symptoms, such as fever and cough.

Even as they declared the outbreak a public health emergency last week, U.S. officials insisted the threat to the general public remains low because there’s no evidence the virus is spreading in this country. Nearly all U.S. patients had recently returned from China when they were diagnosed with the disease.

U.S. travelers returning from China have been quarantined at military bases. Messonnier on Wednesday said four more planes carrying passengers from Wuhan are making their way into the U.S. Two of those planes are heading to California, one is going to Nebraska and the other is bound for Texas.

“We do not believe these people pose a threat to the community where they’re being held,” Messonnier told reporters in a phone briefing, noting that CDC agents would screen those travelers immediately upon arrival.

As of Wednesday morning, the CDC has tested nearly 300 suspected cases. Seventy-six of them were still pending while 206 came back negative, including one at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital.

___

(c)2020 New York Daily News

Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

Mississippi Supreme Court Overturns Successful Ballot Initiative
In The States
Mississippi Supreme Court Overturns Successful Ballot Initiative
May 16, 2021
by Dan McCue

JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday overturned a voter-approved ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana, holding that the election law governing ballot referendums is out of date. The decision, which could halt other citizen-led efforts to amend the state constitution, struck down a... Read More

Ex-University of Pittsburgh Chancellor to Chair Pennsylvania Redistricting Commission
In The States
Ex-University of Pittsburgh Chancellor to Chair Pennsylvania Redistricting Commission
May 16, 2021
by Dan McCue

HARRISBURG — Mark Nordenberg, a former University of Pittsburgh chancellor, will chair the committee in charge of drawing Pennsylvania’s legislative districts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced this week. The appointment means Nordenberg, a former dean of Pitt’s law school, will hold the potentially tie-breaking vote on... Read More

House GOP Elects Trump Defender Stefanik to No. 3 Post
Congress
House GOP Elects Trump Defender Stefanik to No. 3 Post
May 14, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Republican House members handily elected Rep. Elise Stefanik, of New York, to the number three post in their conference leadership Friday, hoping her elevation will end an intra-party feud between allies of former President Donald Trump and his GOP detractors. With little suspense, Stefanik... Read More

Employee Input Critical for Digital Workplace Success
Employment
Employee Input Critical for Digital Workplace Success
May 14, 2021
by Victoria Turner

The transition to remote work this past year happened a lot more quickly than many expected, which suggests organizations were “already working in a digital environment, we just had not realized it,” said Tatyana Mamut, senior vice president of new products at Pendo yesterday. Companies have... Read More

Is Income-Driven Repayment Contributing to Federal Student Loan Payment Problems?
Think Tanks
Is Income-Driven Repayment Contributing to Federal Student Loan Payment Problems?
May 14, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — Student loan forgiveness has been a topic of conversation as the Biden administration continues to consider proposals for alleviating student loan debt, but in the absence of any news on that front, borrowers are starting to get worried as federal student loan repayment is... Read More

China Irked By US Push for Taiwan Presence at World Health Assembly
Geopolitics
China Irked By US Push for Taiwan Presence at World Health Assembly
May 14, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

Over the last two weeks, China and the U.S. have made dueling comments about whether Taiwan should be admitted to this year's World Health Assembly, the meeting where priorities and policies of the World Health Organization are set, which will be held later this month. U.S.... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top