Study: 5 Min. Test Machine Loved by Trump Missed 48% of Positive Cases
COVID-19 came on so rapidly that creating accurate tests has been difficult. The United States reportedly fell behind in testing is because the White House turned down tests from the World Health Organization. Skeptical of the WHO test’s accuracy, the US decided to created their own.
Donald Trump and members of his inner circle have been repeatedly tested for the coronavirus. And the President has regularly mentioned and praised the 5 minute test machine used. A new report from bioRixv, however, says that the White House’s preferred machine misses positive tests as much as 48% of the time.
The 5 minute test machine was created by Abbott Labs. Trump regularly references the tests during his press briefings.
He also highlighted the machines during an April presser, saying, “That’s a whole new ball game. I want to thank Abbott Labs for the incredible work they’ve done. They’ve been working around the clock.”
But an independent study of the machines didn’t show good results. According to Bloomberg:
“The analysis, which has yet to be confirmed, found that Abbott’s ID NOW missed at least one-third of positive cases detected with a rival test and much as 48% when using the currently recommended dry nasal swabs”
"The coronavirus test from Abbott Laboratories used at the White House to get rapid answers to whether someone is infected may miss as many as half of positive cases" https://t.co/E2EoQUs2im
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 13, 2020
Abbott had attempted to avoid this problem early on. “In April, after other academic researchers raised concerns about high false-negative rates, Abbott recommended that clinicians avoid storing samples in so-called transport media, a liquid used to keep a sample, as that might dilute the test and lead to false negatives.”
Critics of the machines, which were sent out to states in April, say they lack significant testing capacity.