California doctor one of first in U.S. to offer coronavirus rapid blood test

A Garden Grove physician is likely one of the first practitioners in the U.S. to begin offering a rapid coronavirus screening test popular in Asia that can provide results within 10 minutes through a simple fingerstick.

Dr. Michael Dao, a 55-year old internist who operates the Dao Medical Group in Little Saigon, in the past two weeks has administered 180 COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Gold tests provided by PCL Inc., one of the largest biotech firms in South Korea.

Three people tested positive for COVID-19 but did not display any symptoms and were instructed to self-quarantine, Dao said, adding that the results were reported to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Dao expects delivery Thursday of 10,000 more test kits and then another 2,000 within the next few days.

“Emergency situations call for emergency measures,” said Dao, who has offered to donate 50,000 additional tests to Orange County and the state for public service employees vulnerable to COVID-19, including postal workers, police officers and first-responders.

Dao said several Orange County physicians have contacted him about providing them with kits that can only obtained through a licensed importer.

The rapid result serology test is already used widely throughout Asia to detect coronavirus and is beginning to make inroads within the U.S.

Last week, at the request of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Denver-based AYTU BioScience won emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration to import 100,000 serology test kits from China.

The FDA has said it “does not intend to object” to the development and distribution of blood tests for COVID-19 by commercial manufacturers, so long as the FDA is notified and patients understand the test hasn’t been reviewed by the FDA.

Those administering the tests also are required by the FDA to inform patients that negative results don’t rule out coronavirus infection, particularly in those who’ve been in contact with the virus; and that follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic should be considered to rule out infection for those who’ve had contact with the virus.

“Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude” coronavirus infection or to inform infection status, the FDA said. Positive results could be due to past or present infection with other coronavirus strains.

The Dao Medical Group has included the FDA disclaimers on its Facebook page listing the serology test services.

Serology vs. PCR testing

Serology testing is relatively simple and requires only a single drop of blood through a fingerstick, just like checking for blood sugar in patients with diabetes, Dao said. The blood is placed in the reservoir of the test kit’s cartridge. Then two drops of solutions are placed in the same reservoir. Test results are available in about 10 minutes.

Individuals are required to park behind Dao’s office and remain in their vehicles while his staff conducts the test.

The test administered by Dao is different from the most common COVID-19 detection procedure called polymerase chain-reaction testing, or PCR. That test uses a cotton swab, like a giant Q-tip, to collect samples from the nose or throat, then …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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