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Miles D. White

Abbott Labs to buy rapid-testing company

Abbott Labs to buy rapid-testing company

Abbott Laboratories is making a $5.8 billion investment in rapid diagnostic testing, a sign of how testing is moving closer to patients and away from centralized labs.

The Abbott Park-based company Monday agreed to acquire Alere, of Waltham, Mass., which makes a variety of products that can detect cholesterol levels, flu, HIV and other infections. Alere's portfolio also includes tests for drugs and alcohol, including some that provide results in as little as five minutes, according to the company.

Alere sells tests that are used in doctors' offices, hospitals, ambulances and even in the home. Bringing testing closer to the patient allows for quicker diagnosis and treatment....