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Tulane lab offers new COVID-19 test that gives results in four hours

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDSU) — Tulane Medical Center’s laboratory is now offering a new COVID-19 test that can give patients their results within four hours.

Tulane University said in a statement this week that the test was created through a joint effort by the Tulane University School of Medicine, the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, Tulane Medical Center, LCMC Health and Roche Diagnostics.

According to the university, Tulane’s laboratory ran its first set of tests using the Cobas 6800 analyzer over the weekend and can now run nearly 200 tests a day on patients at Tulane Medical Center and University Medical Center in New Orleans.

“Hospitals need in-house testing to manage patients admitted with presumptive symptoms of COVID-19,” said Dr. Byron Crawford, medical director of the Tulane Medical Center Laboratory and a professor of pathology at Tulane School of Medicine.

Roche Diagnostics, based in Switzerland, is the manufacturer of the Cobas analyzer. The Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for Roche to test patients who show signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Tulane officials said the tests detect the virus in saliva and on mucus swab samples from patients who meet the criteria for testing. The rapid turnaround of the tests will help doctors release patients who test negative and quarantine those who are positive.

The tests also do not need to be sent to the state lab in Baton Rouge.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, people should be tested if they have fever, respiratory symptoms and test negative for the flu. Severe symptoms include difficult breathing, shortness of breath, persistent pain or chest pressure and blush lips or face.

“This new rapid testing solution will improve hospitals’ ability to quickly diagnose COVID patients and help conserve precious resources and space in COVID-specific units,” Tulane officials said in a statement.

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