FDA questions accuracy of Abbott rapid coronvirus test
The Food and Drug Administration is casting doubt Friday on a popular coronavirus test that's used by the White House and clinics islandwide.
The Abbott ID NOW is a swab test for coronavirus that will give results in under 15 minutes. It's billed as portable and reliable with results on the spot.
However, the FDA commissioner said today that 'it might be worth, if the test is negative, getting a second confirmatory test."
The FDA issued the warning a day after researchers at NYU reported results that suggested Abbott's test can miss up to half the infections caught by a rival test.
The Abbott ID NOW tests are used throughout the country. Nassau County is using them at four of its testing sites, including ones in Hempstead, Freeport, Elmont and Westbury.
"It's a constantly evolving science," says Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Larry Eisenstein.
Eisenstein says he will be speaking with the people who are providing tests to see what their plan is. He says it's not new news that every test has a different percentage of accuracy.
The tests are also used daily at the White House, as well as by clinics like AFC Urgent Care.
Dr. Robert Levy, of AFC Urgent Care, says all tests in the medical profession have some level of false negatives.
"For instance EKGs miss 20% of heart attacks, the blood test we do for heart attacks missing 10% of cases, so this is not new to physicians," says Levy. "You just have to treat the patients in front of you."
When it comes to recommending wther a person should get retested, he says it depends on the case. Levy says if the person has symptoms and exposure they are more likely to test positive. He says if someone is just curious then the tests are accurate enough.
NYU's research has not been published in a medical journal and was based on 100 patients.
Abbott rejected NYU's findings, saying the researchers used the test "in ways that it was not designed to be used."
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