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U.S. health officials seek emergency approval to use diagnostic test for new coronavirus

A Thai medical staff member prepares needle to take blood sample for a human immunodeficiency virus infection (or HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (or AIDS) test at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center's Anonymous Clinic in Bangkok, Thailand, 20 November 2017 (issued 01 December 2017). The Thai Red Cross founded Anonymous Clinic is the first of its kind to be exempt from revealing the name and real identities of HIV patients; the clinic provides confidential HIV testing and treatment services for locals and foreigners. After Thailand's first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in 1984, more than a million of Thais have been infected with HIV and hundreds of thousands have died of the AIDS virus. The Thai Public Health Ministry launched its new 13 years strategy for ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat in Thailand from 2017 through 2030. According to a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report, new HIV infections in Thailand have declined by 50 per cent from 2010 to 2016 as a result of the success of HIV prevention programs. EPA-EFE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Jan 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday it is seeking special emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to allow U.S. states to use a CDC-developed diagnostic test to detect the new coronavirus from China.

By Julie Steenhuysen

 

Currently, states with suspected cases of the new virus must send samples to the CDC for confirmation, as was the case with the U.S. resident in Washington state who was infected while visiting Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

China has put millions of people on lockdown in Wuhan and another nearby city as authorities around the world worked to prevent the virus’s global spread.

Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA would allow states to use the CDC’s test, according to CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes.

At least 16 people had close contact with the Washington state man diagnosed with the first U.S. case of the virus. None of them so far have shown signs of the virus, according to local health officials.

The World Health Organization on Thursday stopped short of declaring the new virus a global health emergency. So far, the virus has killed 18 people and sickened nearly 650, the vast majority of them in China. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Bill Berkrot)

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