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Abbott's COVID-19 test, used at the White House, fails to identify up to 48% of positive cases, study argues

Published on 15/05/20 at 01:05pm
Image Credit: Abbott

Abbott’s 13-minute ID NOW COVID-19 testing kits have come under scrutiny after a study from New York University (NYU) revealed that that they failed to diagnose at least one third and up to a half of known positive cases of infection with the virus.

The report from the NYU Langone School of Medicine reveals that Abbott’s test failed to accurately identify cases as positive, when a rival test was shown able to do so, up to 40% of the time using currently recommended dry nasal swabs for analysis.  

As testing continues to be a mainstay of efforts around the world to contain the novel coronavirus, the kit was granted Emergency Use Authorisation in the US by the FDA just prior to the release of NYU’s findings.

"The fact that it misses positive samples on patients being admitted to the hospital with clinical picture of COVID19 makes this technology unacceptable in our clinical setting," the study argued.

The news sent Abbott’s share price falling by 1.8%.

However, Abbott decried the findings, asserting that, with 1.8 million tests distributed so far, the reported rate of false negatives for the test is 0.02%

The findings take on a frightening dimension when taking into account the fact that this is the test that was used at the White House to test staff. It has been widely reported that the virus has infiltrated the West Wing, with Vice President Mike Pence’s Press Secretary Katie Miller and President Donald Trump’s valet had both been confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19

The White House refused to comment on the data, instead deferring questions to the FDA.

Matt Fellows

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