FDA issues emergency authorization for combination flu and coronavirus test

As the coronavirus pandemic across the United States continues to grow this summer, health officials are concerned about the confluence of the new virus with the seasonal flu virus this fall and winter.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday offered emergency authorization to a new test to differentiate the two viruses, which can have similar symptoms.

This is the third such test that’s been granted emergency authorization by the FDA’s office of the chief scientist, based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The test is created by the CDC and was approved in a memo from the FDA’s Chief Scientist, Rear Adm. Denise Hinton, to Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the move helps to address the concerns of the health care community ahead of the 2020-2021 flu season.

“With just one swab or sample, combination tests can be used to get answers to Americans faster. This efficiency can go a long way to providing timely information for those sick with an unknown respiratory ailment,” Hahn said in a news release.

The three combination tests authorized so far allow one sample to be tested for a number of respiratory diseases.

In its news release, the FDA continued to encourage test developers to work on similar tests as flu season nears.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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