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Feds give Nevada ability to speed approval of COVID-19 testing

The federal government is allowing Nevada to develop and evaluate its own tests for the new coronavirus, providing the flexibility to develop tests faster and increase the number of available kits, state officials announced Tuesday.

Nevada is one of three states, with Maryland and Washington, given the ability to develop their own tests under the policy change allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.

“This change in Nevada’s status will allow the state of Nevada, not the FDA, to determine whether products associated with testing are safe and effective for testing,” Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, said in a news release. “This means that when labs in Nevada do validation studies on products to determine whether they are effective prior to launching testing, they can submit their findings to the state, not the FDA, for approval. This is a much faster process. By the end of next week, we should have data on novel products for testing that should increase testing capacity considerably.”

The state is still not recommending tests for people with mild symptoms or without illness.

Gov. Steve Sisolak said the change will help Nevada residents.

“I am proud that Nevada has taken this step and I commend our labs for their ongoing work to bring peace of mind to Nevadans through testing for COVID-19,” he said in the release.

As of Monday evening, 4,232 people have been tested in Nevada with 278 testing positive for the virus. Four people have died from the disease in Nevada.

Contact Arthur Kane at akane@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter. Kane is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Support our journalism.

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