A quick coronavirus test, endorsed by President Donald Trump and used to screen White House officials, creates false negatives in almost half of all cases, according to a recent report by NYU Langone Health researchers. The Abbott Laboratories study, which produces positive results in five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, was compared with devices with a turnaround time of 45 minutes.
Researchers found that the Abbott test created false negatives around one-third of the time when the virus sample taken using a nasal swab was transported in liquid solution, and 48 percent of the time when the swab was dry, as suggested by the manufacturer. The findings of the report – which has not yet been peer reviewed and released on a scientific preprint platform – were disputed by Abbott, who told AFP that it was not clear whether the samples had been taken correctly.
Such tests look for the genetic material of the virus and use a process that easily allows copies to amplify the initially small sample to a point that can be identified. The test gained a great deal of coverage when it gained regulatory approval and was seen by Trump at the White House at the end of March.