Tags: Coronavirus | Trump Administration | tests | industries

Abbott Tests to Detect Virus Aren't Being Run, Birx Says

Abbott Tests to Detect Virus Aren't Being Run, Birx Says
(Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 08 April 2020 10:34 PM

An Abbott Laboratories machine that can process large numbers of coronavirus tests has run only a tiny fraction of the million it could have, said a top U.S. health official, as the machines have yet to get up to their full capacity.

Abbott’s machines, a model called the m2000, should have been capable of running about a million COVID-19 tests in the last three weeks, Deborah Birx, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said at a briefing in Washington Wednesday night. But they have run less than 10% of that amount.

“It’s a very high throughput machine, we have a million tests out there,” Birx said. “They’re not running. We’ve only run 88,000 tests in three weeks off of those machines, with a million test kits.”

U.S. attempts to contain the coronavirus have been stymied by repeated problems and failures with diagnostic tests, which are necessary to identify patients and isolate them, or to help protect health workers treating them. Heath workers and officials around the U.S. have cited long delays in getting results and limited availability of tests from multiple different sources.

There are 175 of Abbott’s m2000 machines at academic medical centers and hospital laboratories across the country, where they are typically used to test for conditions like HIV and hepatitis. Getting them in the right location, with the appropriate staff and supplies to run COVID-19 tests around the clock, is still a work in progress in some areas.

“In our interactions with customers, we understand that the majority are running COVID-19 tests,” said Kimberly Modory, an Abbott spokeswoman, in a statement. “Some of these labs are working to expand their capacity by increasing staff and supplies to run more shifts. In some instances states and cities are working to establish ways to send the samples to the labs that have capacity.”

Abbott has also developed a test that can be administered by a doctor or nurse and run through a small machine, returning results in a few minutes. The company’s stock (ABT) is down 2.2% this year to date, in comparison with a 15% decline in the S&P 500.

Birx said Wednesday night that she was planning to speak to lab directors to learn more about the issues running tests on the m2000. She said that had the tests been running at capacity, it would have been enough to run checks on health workers across the country.

“They could have screened, in these last three weeks, 100% of the healthcare workers across the country that needed these tests to be done,” Birx said.

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


   
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An Abbott Laboratories machine that can process large numbers of coronavirus tests has run only a tiny fraction of the million it could have, said a top U.S. health official, as the machines have yet to get up to their full capacity.
tests, industries
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2020-34-08
Wednesday, 08 April 2020 10:34 PM
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