With new FDA approval, Abbott sets goal of shipping 1 million coronavirus tests per week

The first wave of tests have been sent to labs in 18 states, including Abbott's home state of Illinois, plus California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington. (Abbott)

Abbott received an emergency use authorization from the FDA for its COVID-19 diagnostic, and announced goals to ramp up U.S. production to 1 million tests per week by the end of March.

To start, the company said it has already shipped 150,000 PCR tests to its existing customers, for use on its m2000 RealTime in vitro diagnostic system. Abbott also said it plans to work with public authorities and health systems to deploy additional molecular testing hardware. 

"A global challenge like coronavirus requires the commitment and cooperation of everyone who has the ability to help address it," Chairman and CEO Miles White said in a statement. "I'm proud of the Abbott team and what they've accomplished in such a short period of time, and I want to thank the Administration and the FDA for their partnership in making this happen."

Currently, Abbott has an installed base of at least 175 systems at U.S. university and community hospitals, as well as reference laboratories.

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The first wave of the company’s tests have been sent to labs in 18 states, including population centers and the harder-hit states of Illinois, California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington. As of March 19, New York state has confirmed over 3,000 cases of COVID-19, nearly a third of the over 9,400 cases reported across the country. Meanwhile, Washington state has seen the highest death toll, with 68.

"Our scientists, many of whom worked on Abbott's first HIV test and the Zika tests, worked around the clock to develop these molecular tests," said Daman Kowalski, Abbott’s head of molecular diagnostics. "Providing people at the frontlines of this pandemic with critical tests will help ensure proper care for patients and help protect our communities."