Abbott's RealTime Zika Test approved for use in U.S.

The test can distinguish Zika from other viruses such as dengue or chikungunya. | File photo

Abbott recently announced that its molecular test, the Abbott RealTime Zika Test, has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The RealTime Zika test, the first molecular test of its kind made by a commercial manufacturer, can detect the virus in whole blood for emergency use. This is important because research suggests Zika can be detected in whole blood for longer than serum and urine sample types. 

The process will be used in hospitals and can provide results in five to seven hours.

"Diagnosing a Zika infection can be challenging, especially since people might not have any symptoms or only have mild symptoms that last a few days," John Hackett, divisional vice president of applied research and technology for Diagnostics Products at Abbott, said in a statement. "Abbott's molecular test may provide the ability to identify the active virus over a longer time period with whole blood and could provide a more accurate diagnosis."

Abbott officials also say their test can distinguish Zika from other viruses such as dengue or chikungunya.

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