New Covid-19 Test Takes 15 Minutes, But Wrong Half The Time

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Posted: May 14, 2020 1:36 PM
New Covid-19 Test Takes 15 Minutes, But Wrong Half The Time

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

A study indicates Abbott ID Now failed to detect 48% of the positive cases found by another machine.

Fast results are one thing but accuracy is another. 

The Abbott Lab test takes only 15 minutes. But what about accuracy?

Please consider Abbott’s Coronavirus Test Falls Short of Rival Device.

The study involved 101 emergency-room patients who were referred for testing at the hospital during a three-day period. For each patient, two swabs were taken. One swab was tested using a device the NYU lab had already validated, Cepheid’s GeneXpert, which takes about 45 minutes to complete a test. The other swab was taken using Abbott’s recommended method and tested in the ID Now.

The GeneXpert detected 31 positive cases among those samples. By contrast, the Abbott device detected only 16 out of the 31. “The remaining 15 samples were falsely negative,” the authors reported in the study.

In another portion of the study, the authors examined 15 positive specimens that had been stored in a liquid on both devices, finding that the ID Now missed one-third of those cases. Last month, Abbott changed the ID Now’s instructions to warn against using the preservative, which it said had contributed to earlier concerns about test accuracy.

In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that several lab directors said the Abbott ID Now was producing false negative results using samples stored in the preservative as much as 25% of the time.

25% to 50% False Negatives

But consider the advantages.

  1. ID Now is a very catchy name. GeneXpert? Come on.
  2. Faster Results - 15 minutes vs 45 minutes
  3. Fewer Reported Cases 

That sounds like triple bragging rights.