Abbott Test Misses Many Coronavirus Cases - Study

Abbott Labs' coronavirus test may miss many positive cases, a study found.
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Abbott Laboratories'  (ABT) - Get Report coronavirus test, ID Now, may miss as many as half of positive cases, a study found.

A spokesman for the Abbott Park, Ill., health-care giant said the test, which the White House uses to determine whether someone is infected, "is performing as expected when it's used correctly." 

Shares of Abbott Laboratories at last check were off 1.3% to $92.60.

The analysis found that Abbott’s ID Now missed at least a third of positive cases detected with a rival test and much as 48% when using the currently recommended dry nasal swabs.

"Regardless of method of collection and sample type, Abbott ID Now Covid-19 missed a third of the samples detected positive by Cepheid Xpert Xpress when using (nasopharyngeal) swabs in (viral transport medium) and over 48% when using dry nasal swabs," the report said.

The analysis, which has not yet been confirmed, was posted on BioRxiv, a server where researchers post early work before it has been reviewed by other scientists.

Abbott has shipped out roughly 1.8 million rapid ID Now tests to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

"Once again, a study has been conducted using ID Now in a manner that it’s not intended to be used," Scott Stoffel, a spokesman for Abbott Labs said in an email. 

"Abbott has distributed about 1.8 million ID Now tests, and the reported rate of false negatives is at 0.02%, which has been shared with the [Food and Drug Administration]. The test is performing as expected when it’s used correctly."

The White House frequently tests people who come in close contact with the president using ID Now. The testing machine doesn’t require deep nasal swabs.

In March Abbott Labs received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for ID Now Covid-19.