Swabs to Test for Coronavirus Running Out: Supplies From Italy Coming

Mish

Hospitals and doctors say they are critically low on swabs that are needed to test patients for the coronavirus.

The Latest Obstacle to Getting Tested? A Shortage of Swabs and Face Masks.

At the University of California San Francisco Health — a hospital system at the heart of one of the nation’s coronavirus outbreaks — officials said they would have to stop testing patients in about five days because they will run out of nasopharyngeal swabs, which are inserted into the nasal passage of patients to get samples for testing. Other hospitals elsewhere in the country were ending their practice of using a second swab to test for the flu in an effort to preserve their supply.

The main manufacturer of the swabs, Copan, is an Italian company whose manufacturing plant is in Northern Italy, a region that has itself been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Making matters more difficult, the swabs must have just the right ingredients — the shafts cannot be wood, for example — or the virus might not be properly detected. “You can’t go to your local store and get Q-tips,” he said.

Dr. Ulrike Sujansky, a physician in solo private practice in San Mateo, Calif., one of the areas with the most cases, said she has only been able to test a few patients because of problems with supplies.

“We cannot test. We cannot test,” she said. The swab kits she ordered from the two biggest lab companies, LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, either arrived late or were not the right type, she said. She also does not have adequate masks or protective supplies, despite weeks of efforts to purchase them and recent appeals to state and local health authorities and hospitals. “I’m not given any tools to deal with this complete crisis.”

A shortage of masks, gowns and other protective gear — which has put a strain on many other areas of care — is also getting in the way of testing.

March 6 Testing Flashback Lie

Lie Exposed March 12

Pressed about limited availability of coronavirus tests, CDC Dir. Robert Redfield turns to NIH official Dr. Anthony Fauci, who says, “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing...Let’s admit it."

Synopsis

On March 6, Trump proclaimed "Anyone that needs a test gets one. And the tests are all perfect."

The Congressional record shows we still could not test by March 12.

By the way, There Aren’t Enough Ventilators to Cope With the Coronavirus either.

Test Kits from Italy

Fox News just reported Air Force flew 500,000 coronavirus test swabs from Italy to Tennessee

Gen. David Goldfein told reporters at the Pentagon that the swabs landed in Memphis on Monday. They were transported across the Atlantic on an Air Force C-17 cargo plane and now will be distributed around the country, people familiar with the mission told Defense One.

If accurate, that's good news.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (50)
No. 1-17
RonJ
RonJ

Pressed about limited availability of coronavirus tests, CDC Dir. Robert Redfield turns to NIH official Dr. Anthony Fauci, who says, “The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing...Let’s admit it."

And that system is: "Testing in the United States was fraught with difficulty in large part due to the slow approval by the Food and Drug Administration to allow testing kits developed by private companies outside of the government controlled CDC to be used at a local or national level. Those FDA policies are consistent with the Obama Administration's response to H1N1 and Ebola in 2009 and 2014 respectively."

Policies already previously in place, along with their respective red tape.

Greggg
Greggg

Trump, Pence, and Fauci seem like the 3 Stooges.

Schaap60
Schaap60

Swabs? Another win for globalization. Coming out of this countries should reconsider outsourcing everything, or at a minimum making sure there are multiple sources of supply in different places.

Zardoz
Zardoz

If we can't test, that'll keep the numbers down. It's a win!

tokidoki
tokidoki

We can't test. And running out of masks will expose our front line health workers to certain risks thereby making testing almost impossible.

I now see an end to the "epidemic" in 5 days. Put on your Call Options people and start shorting the VIX. You might still get to the poor house, but you'll get there in spectacular style!!!!

MiTurn
MiTurn

While this is not related to swabs, it is to supply chain disruptions. One of our large local supermarkets has bare shelves of almost any and everything. One of the employees helping us said that their primary supplier, URM, is rationing stock. The store is only getting 25% of their weekly order, and spotty at that.

Greggg
Greggg

Update on hydroxychloriquine and zinc... also Azithromycin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AToF8O5T86s

awc13
awc13

unbelievable, we don't have the ability to produce swabs?

Duncan Burns
Duncan Burns

Forget where, but a reporter did a drive-through swab. Problem? While #CONVID19 is in fact free, they test to exclude other issues. What does this mean? It's a two-prong test, one is paid for, the other to eliminate another health issue is not effecting you - You can/will be charged for that test ($280). Brilliant.

Ted R
Ted R

How in the hell did this happen? We have to import these test kits from Italy? The U.S. should be the leader with this testing. Somebody dropped the ball on this one.

Bam_Man
Bam_Man

For-profit healthcare.
You're what's for dinner.

njbr
njbr

Lets see, South Korea and the US had their first cases on the SAME day. South Korea has tested over 250,000 people since then. The US has tested under 25,000.

Now which country reacted promptly?

tokidoki
tokidoki

Here's my conspiracy theory. The supply came via Italy, from the Chinese. Trump can't be seen begging on his knees, but we probably sent out the last of our Fort Knox gold for this. In other words, for once we are WINNING since there is no Fort Knox gold.

MorrisWR
MorrisWR

It is not just NP swabs in short supply. I work in a molecular biology testing lab and bleach is running low. We use a large quantity of bleach up to 50% dilution depending on the area/organism, etc. Instrument lines need to be bleached as well as benches, keyboards, mice, etc.

It is not surprising that supplies are low as demand is higher than normal.

JFP_SF
JFP_SF

Good article in the Asia Times on why South Korea did so well. Key points:

  1. They learned from SARS and MERS, and just by luck were running a test of pandemic response in December 2019
  2. The early infections were all within the membership of a single church. The government got the list of church members and isolated and tested them all.

Herkie
Herkie

EVERYTHING is running out Mish, I wish I could upload the photos I just took in Walmart for you, there is nothing on the shelves and it has been like that for 3 weeks. A few odds and ends that nobody wants even in a crisis, but the frozen food section is empty, processed meats all gone, I am now officially out of anything at all for disinfecting hands and that just means I am probably going to get sick because I CAN'T properly clean after going into a public place. I happened to mention to the self check out clerk that Walmart needs to get it's shit together and she just blabbed on defensively about it not being their fault. I said NO EXCUSES, I am mad for a damned good reason and that needs to be relayed to your superiors, if they can't stock the shelves they need to just close the fucking store. I have looked in at least 20 different stores for something to disinfect with and zip NOTHING. Not to mention that was 20 more chances to pick up virus. OMINOUSLY I have not seen eggs on the shelf in 2 weeks.


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