Abbott’s $5 rapid test is a potential game-changer in Covid testing

Abbott Labs got emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its rapid antigen test, which can detect a Covid-19 infection in 15 minutes.

The test is a “game changer,” according to Brett Giroir, the US assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Investors sure think so: Abbott’s (ABBOTT) stock was up about 8% Thursday morning. The options are up about 2000% with investors continuing to purchase with high interest in the September 18 $125 Calls.

The FDA’s emergency use authorization is for Abbott’s BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag Card. The size of a credit card, BinaxNOW will cost $5 and will come with a free mobile app that will let people who test negative display a temporary, date-stamped health pass that is renewed each time a new test is taken.

The antigen test, in which involves a nasal swab, uses the same type of technology as a flu test. Abbott says it anticipates producing 50 million BinaxNOW tests a month by October.

“The massive scale of this test and app will allow tens of millions of people to have access to rapid and reliable testing,” said Joseph Petrosino, a professor of virology at Baylor College of Medicine, in a statement released by Abbott.

Petrosino’s labs have been leading efforts to provide Covid-19 testing for the college and Harris County, which includes Houston.”With lab-based tests, you get excellent sensitivity but might have to wait days or longer to get the results. With a rapid antigen test, you get a result right away, getting infectious people off the streets and into quarantine so they don’t spread the virus,” he said.

The BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag Card is the fourth antigen test to receive an emergency use authorization from the FDA.