The U.S. FDA granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Quest Diagnostics Inc.’s self-collection kit for COVID-19. The kit allows individuals to collect their own specimens at home or in a health care setting.
The U.S. FDA reported that 28 serology tests for antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus either have been withdrawn from the market by the sponsor or delisted by the agency for failure to comply with its notification process for emergency use authorization (EUA).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.”
As states in the U.S. move past the initial push for tests to identify active COVID-19 infections, antibody tests are ramping up quickly to aid in disease surveillance and return-to-work screenings. The rush has spurred an explosion in serology tests, many hastily developed and of questionable value. However, as the pandemic enters its third month, some companies are offering high-accuracy tests with validated results.
The capacity of U.S. medical providers and testing capacity for the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic continues to be sorely tested. But there is now a new route for people to pursue serological testing to detect who has already been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The U.S. capacity for SARS-CoV-2 testing is limited by several items, including the swabs used to collect patient specimens, but the supply of reagents has been front and center recently. Despite those concerns, several private test makers said they are quickly ramping up production, including Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., of Waltham, Mass., which said it has enough supplies of all types on hand to provide 2 million reactions per week, a volume that should increase to 5 million per week in April.
The Senate passed by a vote of 96-1 the spending bill for the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), which will be on President Donald Trump’s desk by week’s end. The bill provides $7.8 billion in new funds to tackle the outbreak and another $490 million in existing funds for telehealth, all with the aim of speeding the response to the pathogen.