The rapid coronavirus test being used to diagnose people at the White House may miss up to half of all positive cases, a new study suggests.
Abbott Laboratories’ ID NOW test was hailed for being able to detect a positive result in just five minutes and a negative result in 13 minuets.
But researchers from New York University found that the ID NOW test missed one-third of coronavirus samples stored in vials compared to another commonly used testing kit.
What’s more, among samples that were taken using a dry nasal swab, the test from the Illinois-based company missed 48 percent of positive results.
It comes on the heels of at least a dozen White House staff members testing positive for the virus – including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller and one of President Donald Trump’s valets – and raises questions about how many cases Abbott’s tests have been missed.
A new study from New York University tested the five-minute Abbott Laboratories test hailed by President Donald Trump against another commonly used test. Pictured: Trump hold one of Abbott’s tests at a press conference in the Rose Garden, March 30
The study found that the the ID NOW test missed one-third of coronavirus samples stored in vials compared to another testing kit (above)
Among samples that were taken using a dry nasal swab, Abbott’s test (pictured) missed 48 percent of positive results
Abbott’s test received emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration in late March.
President Donald Trump showed off the tests during a press conference in the Rose Garden and called them ‘a whole new ballgame’ and ‘highly accurate.’
For the study, published on pre-print site BioRxiv.org – which means it has not been peer-reviewed yet – the team obtained samples from patients seen at New York University Langone Tisch Hospital.
Abbott’s tests were compared against a test produced by Cepheid Inc, a molecular diagnostics company, which claims to return positive results in just 30 minutes.
For the first experiment, the virus samples were stored in a solution known as viral transport media before they were tested.
In this case, the ID NOW test missed one-third of 15 positive samples. Meanwhile, Cepheid’s test correctly identified all the samples as positive.
In a second experiment, the researchers compared the two tests on 101 patients seen in the emergency room. Abbott’s test missed about 48 percent.
‘Regardless of method of collection and sample type, Abbot ID NOW COVID-19 missed a third of the samples detected positive by Cepheid Xpert Xpress when using swabs in [viral transport media] and over 48 percent when using dry nasal swabs,’ the authors concluded.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Abbott said the NYU researchers didn’t use the test correctly and that the test’s rue false-negative rate is 0.02 percent.
‘It’s unclear if the samples were tested correctly in this study. In communications with other users of the test, it is performing as expected,’ the statement read,
This is not the first time that Abbott’s tests have come under fire for allegedly producing false negative.
Last month, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic looked at 239 specimens of the virus among five of the most commonly used tests.
They found the ID NOW positively confirmed the virus in just 85 percent of samples meaning it produced false negatives 15 percent of the time.
At the time, Abbott told DailyMail.com in a statement that its tests are reliable and accurate.
The company alleged that problems with the test’s accuracy in the Cleveland Clinic study could due to viral transport media – storing the swabs in a vial rather than inserting them directly into the kit – something it had communicated with customers.
Abbott’s test has been used to diagnose White House staffers that have worked closely with President Trump and Vice President Pence. Pictured: Nurses Albert Legayada (left) and Fred Bueno care for a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, California, May 6
So far, Abbott has distributed more than 1.8 million of its ID NOW tests.
Officials at the company say the test can be used anywhere, including hospitals, urgent care clinics and even doctors’ offices – and are currently being used at the White House.
More than a dozen people who work closely with Trump and Pence have tested positive for the virus over the past several days.
This includes 11 Secret Service agents, Pence’s press secretary one of Trump’s valet and Ivanka Trump’s personal assistant.
Kevin Hassett, a senior economic adviser Trump, told CNN on Sunday he knew it would be safer to work form home than in the West Wing.
‘I knew when I was going back in that I would be taking risks – that I would be safer sitting at home in my house than going into a West Wing that – even with all the testing in the world and the best medical team on earth – is a relatively cramped place,’ he told host Jake Tapper.