CDC’s first COVID-19 test kits had incorrect instructions and it hampered the initial response to the pandemic, report reveals
- COVID-19 tests used early on in the pandemic were unreliable, and labs at the CDC knew so
- Failures of the early tests potentially cost the United States a few weeks to properly respond to the pandemic
- Improper instructions to create the test were distributed by the CDC to labs across the country
- Testing has since been fixed, as current tests are more reliable
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released improper instructions to build COVID-19 tests to labs across the country early in the pandemic, and it may have cost the U.S. a few weeks in its pandemic response.
The information was disclosed in an internal CDC report obtained by NPR earlier this week, which they obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Due to ‘inadequate document control’ and inconsistencies in building the tests, the results the tests would produce were often inaccurate or inconclusive.
This means there were different versions of test instructions sent to various labs, leading to confusion about how to use the kits.
Failures in testing may have cost the United States a few weeks worth of time in identifying and controlling early outbreaks when the pandemic began last year.
Many of the tests used early on in the pandemic were unreliable, often producing incorrect results. Some at the CDC knew about the flaws of the tests, but let them be used by the public despite them
The chemical make-up of the tests was incorrect at first, and many labs were not properly replicating it. The errors in CDC guidelines to labs across the country have since been fixed
The report, which looked into why the agency’s original coronavirus test kit failed, also reveals that a small infectious disease lab at the CDC knew that the tests were not reliable.
A test with those levels of failures will usually not be seen as fit for public use.
The desperation of the situation cause the CDC to roll out the inaccurate, improper, tests.
Instructions given to labs around the country to create their own tests were not proper as well, causing replicated versions of the tests to carry many of the same inconsistencies.
Testing for COVID-19 was a major problem for the U.S. early in the pandemic.
Many who exhibited symptoms of the virus early on where unable to be tested due to a low supply.
The tests themselves were unreliable, with many fearing false positives or negatives.
Concerns around the reliability of tests proved to be well-found, as many tests were giving inaccurate results on a regular basis.
Failure to test early on in the pandemic made it hard for health officials to detect and contain outbreaks.
It also made many of the early COVID case numbers unreliable.
However, testing for COVID-19 has massively improved since then.
The types of tests have changed, and they are more reliable over a year into the pandemic.
There is also much lower demand for testing at this point, with more than 60 percetn of Americans having received at least one dose, combined with a much larger supply and the ability to produce the tests at a faster rate.
The recipe of chemicals needed to create the tests has also changed as well, according to the documents obtained by NPR.
Over 33 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the United States, with nearly 600,000 deaths.
Both figures have slowed down in recent weeks, though, as America looks towards post-pandemic life.