HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reissued an emergency use authorization for COVID-19 testing using pooled samples on Saturday.
The testing will allow for up to four individual swab specimens. According to the FDA, the test will allow for more people to be tested using fewer tests.
Local health officials say the number of people who need to get tested or think they have COVID-19 is creating a tremendous volume for test labs.
If a pool in the test comes back as positive, one or more individuals in that pool have COVID, so each sample would then be tested individually.
Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authoritity says although it’s easier to get a test than it was a few months ago, wait time continue to be an issue.
“Waiting that long to get your test results back or having to wait in line obviously that discouraging. So while it might be possible to get the test getting the results quick or actually having to wait in line for it is definitely discouraging, and so it creates practically a shortage,” says Dr. Castillo
The FDA says because the samples are pooled it is expected that fewer tests will be run overall, meaning fewer test supplies are used and more tests can be run at the same time, allowing parents to receive their results faster in most cases.
The FDA goes on to say the test, however, is not suitable for all areas and they continue to work with other developers in creating new approaches to get test results to more individuals quickly.
If you would like to read the full press release from the FDA, you can click here.