Speed Reads

Solving COVID

FDA approves startup's portable coronavirus test kit

Visby Medical, a startup in Silicon Valley, last week became the first company to receive an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a portable PCR coronavirus test kit, Reuters reports.

PCR testing, considered one of the most accurate diagnostic tools for infectious diseases, usually requires a large, expensive machine to run results, but Visby's product can reportedly fit in a person's palm. The medical equipment company's founder and CEO Adam de la Zerda said he hasn't settled on a price for the kit — which Visby has been developing for the last seven years, initially for the purpose of diagnosing sexually transmitted diseases — but the goal is to make it affordable.

For now, the EUA will allow Visby's kit to be used in clinical labs, where it can process a nasal swab and detect COVID-19 in 30 minutes, but eventually Visby aims to sell it directly to consumers for in-home use, per Reuters.

Steven Chu, who has won the Nobel Prize for physics and invested in Visby, said he believes portable coronavirus test kits "can really transform things." The United States, of course, hopes to increase its testing capacity through affordable, efficient methods from any location, and Visby's kit seems to fit the bill. Read more at Reuters.