New Mexico announces arrival of coronavirus test kits

Thursday, 05 Mar, 2020

After a slow and criticized rollout of USA government-designed testing kits for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, federal agencies enforced new policies to scale up capacity to conduct tests and produce results more quickly. If a person does need to be tested, the medical provider will collect a sample from the patient's nose and throat to be sent to the state lab.

The Department of Health and Human Services has said it launched an investigation into the manufacturing defect in the early CDC testing kits.

He said up to 1 million tests will likely be conducted by the end of the week. At the same time, the FDA has given some local labs and hospitals permission to develop their own tests.

"We believe this policy strikes the right balance during this public health emergency", Hahn said in a statement.

The realistic estimate is now likely around 5,000 each day, according to a public health lab industry group.

"There have been blunders, and there could be an underlying catastrophe that we don't know about", said epidemiologist Michael Mina, who helps run a microbiology testing lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The FDA and CDC are aware that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to expand globally, the supply chain for these devices will continue to be substantially stressed as demand exceeds available supplies.

"It's unacceptable that people in my state and nationwide can't even get an answer to whether or not they are infected", she said.

Washington state announced on Monday four more people died from the coronavirus, bringing the number of deaths in the country to six, all in Washington.

And a third presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been found in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday. "People can not get access to them".

The agency said afterward that Hahn was taking into account the anticipated, increased production of test kits by an outside manufacturer, Integrated DNA Technologies, which is now selling kits to the federal government and other buyers.

When properly fitted, respirators can filter more airborne particles than face masks, which is important during an outbreak of a respiratory disease like COVID-19, according to the FDA and CDC.

In a recent press conference, the US CDC Director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier confirmed that the CDC test "wasn't working as expected, specifically some public health labs at states were getting inconclusive results and what that means is that test results were not coming back as false positive or false negatives but they were being read as inconclusive".

But quickly increasing the number of tests done each day will require private laboratories to pitch in.

Will the test tell me if I had coronavirus but got better? It now says testing is appropriate if such symptoms exist and other respiratory illnesses have been ruled out, even if no source of possible exposure has been identified.

The move greatly expanded the nation's testing capacity, and the C.D.C. also said it was shipping out new test kits to the states as well.

Mr. Perlin said that if the virus spreads widely, experienced local labs will be needed - in tandem with government labs - to manage large-scale testing.

Murray is exhausted of waiting.

Health officials, however, have continued to call for readiness against the respiratory disease, whose symptoms includes fever and coughing and, in more severe cases, pneumonia. In the USA, 128 cases have been reported, including 10 deaths in Washington state out of 32 reported cases.

"The administration has had months to prepare for this", Murray said. That indicates the cases likely stemmed from so-called "community spread" of the virus in the United States. Over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence made similar claims, appearing on television to say that more than 15,000 test kits - which contain materials to test between 700 to 800 samples - were being shipped to labs.

Lab directors like Mina hope that having more labs developing tests will improve its accuracy.

"We are now at the point where we need a decentralized solution that we can use more or less anywhere", Qiagen Chief Executive Thierry Bernard said in an interview Thursday.

CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat told lawmakers at the Senate hearing she is optimistic the US will ultimately have enough coronavirus tests but warned that emerging infectious diseases can present surprises.