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Cheap, rapid tests expand US toolbox, Germany on watch

The Food and Drug Administration over the weekend issued emergency use authorization for a rapid and cheap coronavirus test. The test may only be about 85% accurate, but it’s nonetheless a crucial step toward increasing the country’s ability to monitor for new coronavirus outbreaks, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.Ā 

Public health specialists have repeatedly said the ability to test broadly for the coronavirus will be key to boosting surveillance as dozens of states ease restrictions and reopen nonessential businesses. Epidemiologists say this week is when potential new infections would arise in states where governors reopened most aggressively.

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks.Ā 

  • Global cases: More than 4.1 million
  • Global deaths: At least 283,001
  • US cases: More than 1.3 million
  • US deaths: At least 79,528

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

7:09 am: New antigen tests are ‘another tool,’ former FDA chief says

A new coronavirus test is rolling out that could cost just $5 and offer results in minutes, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

TheĀ FDAĀ on Saturday issued emergency use authorization for Quidel‘s new antigen test. The diagnostic tests quickly detect fragments of proteins known as antigens found on or within the virus by testing samples collected from the nasal cavity using swabs.

Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor who sits on the boards ofĀ PfizerĀ and biotech companyĀ Illumina, said some 40,000 doctors already have the equipment needed to process the tests because it’s the same machine that would be used for flu and strep throat.Ā 

However, the new test is only about 85% sensitive, Gottlieb said, so test results will still need to be confirmed with another kind of test like the more standard diagnostic PCR test. He added that the test is best used to confirm that symptomatic individuals are in fact infected with the coronavirus and not for screening potentially healthy people.

“But the virtue is, for the first 85 patients, you’ve now effectively diagnosed them right away in the doctor’s office in about five minutes, very inexpensively without having to reflex, without having to send off a PCR-based test,” he said. “So this really does expand the ability to test within the doctor’s office. And it’s another tool, another layer of testing.”Ā ā€”Will Feuer

6:45 pm: Germany says it takes uptick in virus reproduction rate seriously

Citizens stand in a queue to buy anti-aerosol masks and disposable medical masks at a sales booth in front of the Beuel town hall during the novel coronavirus crisis on April 29 2020 in Bonn, Germany.

Andreas Rentz

Germany’s health ministry has said it takes a rise in the country’s virus reproduction rateĀ seriously, but a higher number does not mean there is an uncontrolled outbreak, a ministry spokesman said Monday, according to a Reuters report.

The reproduction number is a measure of how many people an infected individual will go on to infect, on average. Health authorities have aimed to keep the number below 1 in order to gradually reduce the number of infections, but in Germany, the number has risen to 1.1, according to theĀ Robert Koch Institute for disease control.

A number above 1 means the number of infections is increasing. Germany started to lift lockdown restrictions around three weeks ago.Ā ā€”Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Russia sees record daily rise in new cases; Spain death toll at 7-week low

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