Testing being performed on Abbott’s ID NOW platform Courtesy photo of Abbott

SCARBOROUGH — Abbott Laboratories, a Chicago-based company with a Scarborough facility, has released rapid Covid-19 testing kits through a mobile platform, now used at Martin’s Point Health Care.

The medical device company said on March 27 that it had developed the “fastest available molecular point-of-care test” to deliver positive results for Covid-19 in five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency use authorization for the kits, said Abbott in a press release.

On April 7, Martin’s Point Health Care announced that the health care center had received its first shipment of the Abbott tests, which were administered to the Portland and Brunswick locations on April 6.

“We have requested to receive 1,000 Abbott tests per week, significantly increasing the availability of testing to our patients,” said the announcement.

Established Martin’s Point patients must make appointments with their providers to receive testing, said the announcement. However, the care centers are still taking new patients in need of new primary care providers.

The Abbott tests can be used in doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics, said a press release from the company, setting them apart from others.

“The ID NOW platform is small, lightweight (6.6 pounds) and portable (the size of a small toaster), and uses molecular technology, which is valued by clinicians and the scientific community for its high degree of accuracy,” said the press release.

Abbott said that ID NOW is the most widely-available, point-of-care testing platform in the U.S.

“Through the incredible work of teams across Abbott, we expect to deliver 50,000 Covid-19 tests per day to health care professionals on the front lines, where testing capabilities are needed most,” said Chris Scoggins, senior vice president, Rapid Diagnostics, Abbott. “Portable molecular testing expands the country’s capacity to get people answers faster.”

According to Abbott’s press release, “Molecular point-of-care testing for COVID-19 offers health care workers rapid results in more settings where people show up for care. Molecular testing technologies help detect the presence of a virus by identifying a small section of the virus’ genome, then amplifying that portion until there’s enough for detection.”

The state of Maine received 15 of the Abbott test machines, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, but fewer testing kits than had been expected.

On April 8, Shah said that Maine would be “going back to the drawing board” in order to find the best strategy for the machines.

“What’s equally important in this situation is the test kit, the chemicals where the patient sample is placed and put into the microwave,” he said. “Initially we thought we were going to be receiving a higher number.”

According to an article in the Press Herald, the Maine CDC is not upset with Abbott about the shortage.

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