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Maine plant ready to begin producing COVID-19 tests

A box contained a test for COVID-19 from Abbott Laboratories.
A box contained a test for COVID-19 from Abbott Laboratories.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Abbott Laboratories will begin production Wednesday of COVID-19 tests, making 50,000 of them daily at its manufacturing plant outside Maine’s largest city, company officials said.

The Scarborough plant expects to produce more than 1 million tests per month that can deliver positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, said Kimberly LaFleur, a company spokeswoman outside Chicago.

Abbott Laboratories received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the test, which utilizes an Abbott point-of-care platform currently used in thousands of medical offices. The ID NOW units are currently used to test for influenza, strep throat and other illnesses.

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Maine, which has experienced testing shortages, is “very interested” in the system but more information is needed, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state needs more information about the availability of the testing platform and the supply chain for chemicals, he said.