Puerto Rico authorized to evaluate COVID-19 testing kits

September 23, 2020 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico announced Wednesday that it became the first U.S. territory outside the mainland to obtain federal permission to independently evaluate and approve new COVID-19 diagnostic tests that are urgently needed.

The move means that laboratories on the island will no longer have to wait for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for potential tests they’ve created to detect the new coronavirus. Instead, labs will submit them to a commission formed by local scientists who will work with the FDA for review and potential approval.

Experts said they expect this will make more tests available more quickly. Only a handful of U.S. states has received such permission, including New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.


The island of 3.2 million people has reported more than 600 deaths, more than 20,000 confirmed cases and more than 22,000 probable ones.