New Blood Test Can Detect Coronavirus in 20 Minutes, Say Australian Researchers

Currently, the primary way of testing for the respiratory illness is through swabbing the patient’s nostrils. Results from these tests may be ready in as little as 24 hours, but people typically hear back in three to five days.

Widespread coronavirus testing has been touted as a key way to beat the virus since the pandemic first took hold in the U.S., but a lack of resources has limited testing in many areas. Though tests are now more widely available, a manufacturing problem in the first batch of kits in March led to delayed production and a lack of available testing.

As of Friday, 46,551,605 tests were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 9 percent of those coming back as positive. Though the number of available tests has increased, it is still a relatively low number considering the U.S. population of 329 million people.

Additionally, many of those tests are administered to the same person — a COVID-19 patient who leaves the hospital will have been tested at least three times, and President Donald Trump, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, are tested daily.

Although the majority of states have already begun the process of reopening, health experts have repeatedly said that sufficient testing and contact tracing is needed before the U.S. can begin to reopen, or the country may enter a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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