The latest global regulatory news, changes and updates affecting medical devices and technologies, including: Shuren, Stenzel push back on serology tests; FDA touts accomplishments for 2020; IMDRF posts five-year plan.
The U.S. FDA has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Genscript USA Inc. for its Cpass SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit, the first commercially available test to detect neutralizing antibodies in individuals previously infected with the novel coronavirus. The serology test measures levels of neutralizing antibodies in samples from patients recovering from COVID-19 as well as people vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The U.S. FDA gave an emergency use authorization (EUA) to the first semi-quantitative antibody test from Siemens Healthineers AG for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This test, known as the SARS-CoV-2 IgG (COV2G) antibody test, could potentially be used repeatedly over time to assess relative levels to gauge potential immunity.
The question of screening for the COVID-19 pandemic continues to absorb the interest of both the U.S. FDA and test developers, and Tim Stenzel, director of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health (OIR), said in a July 22 webinar that the FDA is “very interested” in a fingerstick test at the point of care for screening purposes, adding that the agency sees any such applications as a priority.
The next phase of testing for the COVID-19 pandemic will hopefully include the roll-out of tests for neutralizing antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but there are some roadblocks. The FDA’s Tim Stenzel said the agency has a limited amount of information to offer regarding emergency use authorizations for these tests, a predicament that might not resolve until several applicants are in and the agency can see some information that will aid in development of performance and validation standards.
The U.S. FDA detailed which kinds of SARS-CoV-2 tests are getting top priority, with access to rolling, rapid reviews for emergency use authorization (EUA) during the unfolding pandemic. The agency is aiming to authorize point-of-care and at-home tests to better distribute the use of testing in various locations. It also is looking at automated and high-throughput tests that can offer analysis of larger batches of tests at one time.
The latest U.S. FDA town hall for testing for the COVID-19 included a few updates on serological testing, but perhaps the most important take-away was when Tim Stenzel, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiology, advised attendees that performance expectations regarding next-generation sequence (NGS) testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus will closely resemble those of conventional molecular testing.
The U.S. FDA reported that 28 serology tests for antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus either have been withdrawn from the market by the sponsor or delisted by the agency for failure to comply with its notification process for emergency use authorization (EUA). The agency said the list of unavailable tests will be updated over time. For his part, Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the move was undertaken “to ensure that Americans have access to trustworthy tests.”
The FDA’s weekly town hall on testing for the COVID-19 pandemic included the usual range of concerns about test performance, but concerns regarding swabs and sample sites continue to mount. The predicament has led to the announcement that the FDA along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a May 15 town hall regarding swabs, with a particular interest in swabs produced via additive manufacturing.
The U.S. does not have a universal health care system, which means that it fails to provide a consistent level of minimum care across its population. That means that basic and preventative care often falls through the cracks, even as the U.S. continues to excel at medical innovation and offer the most highly regarded health care in the world to those who can afford it.