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EXPLAINER: CDC announces future changes for COVID-19 testing

A health worker collects a nasal swab sample for a COVID-19 test. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
A health worker collects a nasal swab sample for a COVID-19 test. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)(Marco Ugarte | AP)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:18 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - There have been some questions regarding the CDC withdrawing the request for FDA Emergency Use Authorization of the COVID-19 Real Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel at the end of the year.

The RT-PCR was introduced in February 2020 to only detect SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The change announced by the CDC was made to give clinical laboratories and testing sites time to select and implement one of the other FDA-authorized alternatives for testing.

The CDC is encouraging labs to consider use of approved, existing methods that can detect and differentiate between COVID-19 and influenza viruses. These are referred to as a multiplexed method of testing.

Experts say a multiplexed method would save both time and resources by testing for both viruses as flu season approaches.

The FDA’s website provides a full list of authorized COVID-19 diagnostic methods available for clinical testing.

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