Tags: tests | antigen | covid | 19 | accuracy | speed | demand

High Demand for Quick Virus Tests Will Exceed Supply Into 2021

president trump opens a box with the abbott laboratories ID Now test
President Donald Trump holds a 5-minute test for COVID-19 from Abbott Laboratories during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus on March 30, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 09 August 2020 09:08 AM

There are a number of challenges ahead with the U.S. coronavirus task force's plan to mass distribute quick-response COVID-19 testing to nursing homes and vulnerable communities: supply, demand, and a trade-off of accuracy for speed.

Critics of the task force have decried the lack of U.S. testing available to anyone and everyone, but meeting that demand has only created another problem: Results taking too long to come back.

While questionable accuracy might be seen as the most dangerous of concerns, experts have decided the massive deluge of the most detailed tests have created days-long backlogs at traditional analysis laboratories, Politico reported.

Critics hate that now, too.

That is where the quick-response antigen testing comes in, perhaps to the tune of handling more than 20 million tests per week. The last reported daily U.S. testing rate is 820,000 tests per day, which is still under 6 million per week.

The problem there is manufacturers are not able to meet those demands, which "will far exceed what all of the manufacturers in the rapid antigen space can produce, for at least the next several quarters," according to President and CEO of test-maker Quidel Doug Bryant, per the report.

The only other manufacturer of these antigen tests, BD, plans to produce 10 million test kits from July to September. That is 10 million in months, well short of the 20 million per week.

Demand will "exceed supply in the foreseeable future at least," BD President and CEO Tom Polen said Thursday, per the report.

Other quick tests that do not use the antigen process are Abbott Laboratories' ID Now and Cepheid's Xpert Xpress, but those tests too come in supply short of demand. Abbott is expanding production of its rapid tests kits, which are used for White House visitors, to more than 50,000 per day.

"When our colleagues have talked to distributors, they have simply said that it could be months before ample testing supplies are available," LeadingAge CEO Katie Smith Sloan told Politico.

Regardless of the supply shortfalls, the speed of creation and production of COVID-19 testing is giving the demanding public test kits that are less than 100% accurate.

"In a nursing home, a false negative test would spell disaster," Maine Medical Directors Association spokesman Jabbar Fazeli told Politico.

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There are a number of challenges ahead with the U.S. coronavirus task force's plan to mass distribute quick-response COVID-19 testing to nursing homes and vulnerable communities: supply, demand, and a trade-off of accuracy for speed....
tests, antigen, covid, 19, accuracy, speed, demand
378
2020-08-09
Sunday, 09 August 2020 09:08 AM
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