Commercial Labs Sitting On Excess Capacity For COVID-19 Testing But They’re Going Unused
President Donald Trump said that the sharp drop-off in commercial testing was a good sign because it indicated that "states are moving to faster, more local testing solutions including on the spot tests." But experts say the U.S. is nowhere close to testing the amount it needs to in order to reopen and commercial labs remain frustrated that they're not being used to full capacity.
Trump Defends Drop In Commercial Lab Testing Amid Push To Reopen U.S.
President Donald Trump defended a sharp drop in commercial laboratory coronavirus testing as a positive development Thursday despite public health experts’ warnings that the U.S. needs millions of additional tests each week to safely reopen the country. “In recent days we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of tests performed by hospitals and academic institutions,” Trump said. “Some of the media falsely reported this as a bad thing when in fact it's a great thing because it indicates that the states are moving to faster, more local testing solutions including on the spot tests.” (Lim, 4/16)
Next Generation Of COVID-19 Virus Tests Could Get Faster And Cheaper With CRISPR
Being able to test for coronavirus infections is a critical component to reopening society — even a little bit — after the initial wave of COVID-19. So there is an urgent need for faster, cheaper tests than the ones available at present. One approach to the next generation of tests is being developed by the University of California, San Francisco Medical School and Mammoth Biosciences. In a paper released Thursday in the journal Nature Biotechnology, researchers describe a test based on a new technology known as CRISPR. (Palca, 4/17)
Crucial Coronavirus Antibody Tests Destined For New York City Caught In Red Tape In China
The first 100,000 coronavirus antibody tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and headed to New York City could have been deployed days ago, but they’ve been stuck in red-tape limbo in China, officials with the U.S. government and with the antibody test company told ABC News. “I’ve been working in government for 15 years almost, at this point, so bureaucratic stuff is never that surprising,” said New York City Councilman Stephen Levin, a Brooklyn Democrat who chairs the city's General Welfare Committee. “I see it as a hurdle to overcome.” (Abdelmalek and Margolin, 4/17)
Unapproved Chinese Coronavirus Antibody Tests Being Used In At Least 2 States
Officials across the country are racing to provide coronavirus tests to diagnose infections and to identify recovered patients with antibodies that may help others battle COVID-19, the disease it causes. But some COVID-19 antibody tests, including those being used by public health departments in Denver and Los Angeles and provided to urgent care centers in Maryland and North Carolina, were supplied by Chinese manufacturers that are not approved by China's Center for Medical Device Evaluation, a unit of the National Medical Product Administration, or NMPA, the country's equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, NBC News has found. (Morgenson, 4/16)
Airline Passengers Undergo Covid-19 Blood Tests Before Boarding
Perhaps a sign of what the future holds for air travelers, Dubai-based airline Emirates has begun carrying out Covid-19 blood tests on passengers at the airport prior to flights. According to a statement released by the airline, the first rapid Covid-19 blood tests took place on Wednesday at Dubai International Airport, with passengers on a flight to Tunisia all reportedly tested before departure. The tests were conducted by the Dubai Health Authority at the Group Check-in area of Terminal 3 and results were available within 10 minutes. (Cripps, 4/16)