Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said today on Wolf Blitzer's CNN show that Detroit City is on track to be the first city to use Abbott Labs' five-minute COVID-19 test. The mayor said the test is available to first responders. The goal, he said, was to test first responders who isolate themselves but have not yet tested positive for the virus.
The City of Detroit received Abbott Labs testing today, April 1st. They will be available within the next 24 hours, the mayor said.
Abbott's system received an emergency release for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It is a laboratory in a box that is about the size of a small kitchen appliance. Because of its small size and quick test results, it can be deployed and used faster than other methods.
The city of Detroit is particularly hard hit by the novel corona virus. According to recent figures, the counties around Detroit contain 81% of the 7,615 coronavirus cases in Michigan. More than 20% of the 2,500 police officers are quarantined on suspected COVID-19.
The significant number of cases in Detroit caused the mayor to leave traditional channels to get the tests first.
The Washington Post reports that Mayor Mike Duggan secured the cell phone number of Miles White, Abbot Labs' chairman and outgoing CEO, and woke him up on Sunday morning to ask for the test. This early morning call brought the city five machines and 5,000 tests.
Today, the company announced in a tweet that it is making the system available this week in an emergency care facility in the United States where the company already has tools. Abbott Labs said the company already has the largest molecular point-of-care footprint in the United States and is "widespread" in medical practices, emergency clinics, emergency rooms, and other medical facilities.
Abbott anticipates that 5 million tests can be performed in April, divided into new rapid tests and traditional laboratory tests that received emergency approval from the FDA on March 18.