Coronavirus Testing: How Accurate Are The Tests Being Administered In The US?

According to various experts, no one really knows just how effective the coronavirus screening tests are even after months into the COVID-19 outbreak. Thankfully, studies are now being made to find out.

As if bringing mass testing into different parts of countries from all over the world isn’t already a problem enough, various medical experts are now saying that as of the moment, no one really knows how effective the current coronavirus screening tests that we have and just how well they can really detect SARS-CoV-2.

This is because when the pandemic first came out (seemingly out of nowhere), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employed its emergency powers to take a look at a dozen quickly-devised tests and giving the OK signal to a lot of them. This OK signal is reportedly only based on a small number of lab studies that show they could be successful in locating the virus and hopefully helping out in the pandemic.

Per medical experts, this is simply vastly different from the approach that should have been made, which is to conduct large patient studies that oftentimes take weeks or months. However, given that the pandemic came out of nowhere, it’s no surprise that the FDA took what is essentially the quickest route to help meet the challenges that it brought. It also came after the FDA itself had been criticized for delaying the launch of new tests during a crisis.

However, as we are now months in the outbreak, which in itself is projected to stretch on for many more months, experts from top medical institutes are now demanding for the FDA to demand better evidence of the accuracy of the tests that it will be approving.

“In the beginning, the FDA was under a lot of pressure to get these tests onto the marketplace. But now that there are plenty of tests out there, it’s time for them to raise the bar,” Dr. Steven Woloshin of Dartmouth College said.

As per the latest research, there are now more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with 115,000 deaths.

COVID-19 Antibody Test A new lateral flow immunoassay can detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, which appear as a bright orange line when placed on a fluorescence reader (right). Guanfeng Lin/American Chemical Society

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