Merchant-Borna Helps Develop Rapid COVID Test

January 6, 2021

Kian Merchant-Borna ’03 helps develop a rapid covid testKian Merchant-Borna ’03, MPH, MBA, served as principal investigator for a University of Rochester Medical Center-hosted clinical trial of a quick COVID-19 diagnostic testing device.

The $5 rapid COVID test, developed by Abbott Laboratories, is roughly the size of a credit card and detects COVID-19 from a nasal swab within 15 minutes. It has received emergency use authorization from the FDA.

“This is really exciting,” says Merchant-Borna, a faculty member in the Department of Emergency Medicine. “Eventually, anyone in their home will be able to use this, before you send your children off to school, or before you go to visit your grandparents. It’s the same technology as a urine pregnancy test, and just as easy to use.”


“Eventually, anyone in their home will be able to use this, before you send your children off to school, or before you go to visit your grandparents.”


The rapid COVID test correctly diagnosed a coronavirus infection 97.1 percent of the time and a negative test result 98.5 percent of the time, Merchant-Borna says. “This far exceeded what anyone expected from a lateral flow test.” 

Merchant-Borna praised the university for quickly paving the way to participate in the testing. “What normally takes about three weeks to process we did in about eight hours,” he says. “I think that really speaks to the institution’s awareness of how important this project was.”


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