The Food and Drug Administration late Friday approved the first coronavirus test that can be conducted entirely at the point of care for a patient — and deliver results in 45 minutes.The FDA granted “emergency use authorization” to Cepheid, a California company that makes a rapid molecular test for the coronavirus. The turnaround time for Cepheid’s product is far shorter than for the tests being used, which are typically sent to centralized labs that may not return results for days.The FDA authorization is for use in “patient care settings,” including doctors’ offices, but the test initially will be used primarily by hospitals and emergency departments, the company said.As covid-19 cases proliferate, fears are growing that hospitals will become overwhelmed by patients seeking tests or care. David Persing, Cepheid’s chief medical and technology officer, said in an interview that the test will “help alleviate the pressure” on health-care facilities by helping doctors find out quickly whether a patient has the disease and select the appropriate treatment.“This is not a test for the worried well,” he said, but rather a tool for doctors to quickly assess patients suspected of having covid-19.The specimen can be collected either by a nasal swab or by


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