FDA Approves Curative Inc's COVID-19 Test
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
The Food and Drug Administration approved COVID-19 testing startup Curative Inc.'s saliva test for emergency use — opening up the door to larger-scale distribution.
The move by the federal agency provides a hopeful sign for the company which is working to develop mass at-home testing that could be used to help open up the country's economy.
As of Friday, 3.5 million people have been tested in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But as officials from President Donald Trump on down look to jumpstart the national economy and lift stay-at-home orders, the availability of testing will need to be widespread, public health experts say.
Curative has processed 57,700 tests, nearly a quarter of all those administered in California, Curative founder Fred Turner said on Twitter Friday. Turner set up shop in a San Dimas lab last month and became an unsung hero in the battle to combat coronavirus in Southern California when he turned the focus of his company, originally meant to detect sepsis, to the pandemic.
The tests take a little over a day to process and have been among the quickest turnarounds in the region. Curative is processing about 5,000 test results daily and producing 20,000 test kits a day. The test has been used since March 21, but with this approval, Curative can further ramp up production and distribute nationwide.
The saliva tests pose less risk to health care workers than the tests that require a nurse to swab inside a person's nose. The company has been testing first responders in Los Angeles County.
With this authorization, the company said, it was prepared to start working with new distributors including healthcare systems, states, and city governments.
Hospitals, grocery stores and warehouses are all struggling to figure out how to keep essential workers safe. More than 22 million people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic erupted in the United States and employers are struggling to figure out how to keep essential workers safe.
Abbott Laboratories Inc. announced this week it would begin shipping a new coronavirus blood test that can tell whether a person has ever been infected with hopes of ramping up to to produce 20 million tests a month by June.
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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.
It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.
Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.
As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?
My distractingly sweet dog, Seamus.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
Tech agricultural unicorn Plenty is gearing up to hire 50 full-time employees to run a new vertical farm monitored by robots in Compton.
The farm, which will open in 2021, will grow leafy greens and Driscoll's branded strawberries, showcasing Plenty's indoor hydroponic farming. CEO and co-founder Matt Barnard says it's more efficient than traditional farming, which is weather-sensitive and requires large plots of land.