HealthDay News — The first commercial test for the qualitative detection of RNA from the Zika virus was authorized for emergency use Thursday by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The test, from Quest Diagnostics, is the first from a commercial laboratory provider to be granted an EUA for testing patients for Zika virus RNA. Until now, the only Zika tests authorized by the FDA were available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and were only used in qualified laboratories designated by the CDC. Quest Diagnostics plans to make the new test broadly available to physicians for patient testing, including in Puerto Rico, early in the week of May 2, 2016, according to a press release from Quest. 

Currently, it can be difficult for people who think they are infected with Zika to get tested. Their doctors have to send samples to local or state health departments. With the FDA approval, doctors will be able to order the $500 test through Quest. 


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The company will charge $120 for patients who don’t have health insurance and whose health providers verify they are eligible for the lower price.