The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning the public about the reliability of a widely used rapid test for the coronavirus. The test, made by Abbott Laboratories, has been linked with inaccurate results which could falsely reassure patients that they are not infected with the virus.
The Trump Administration has promoted the test as a key factor in controlling the epidemic in the U.S. and is used for the daily testing that is going on at the White House.
As first reported on NPR, as many as 15 to 20 out of every 100 tests may produce falsely negative results. A subsequent study released this week indicated that the test could be missing as many as 48% of infections.
The FDA issued the alert on the Abbott test “in the spirit of transparency,” and said in a press release, it’s investigating whether the false-negative results could be connected to the type of swab used during the rapid test, or the material the samples are being stored in when they’re transported.