America’s Coronavirus Testing Lags Far Behind South Korea and China

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    The news site Axios (founded by former Politico staffers) reports on an issue discovered at an Atlanta lab for America’s Centers for Disease Control that was manufacturing “relatively small amounts” of coronavirus testing kits for laboratories around the country. Sources familiar with the situation in Atlanta tell them that manufacturing has now been moved to another lab. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn confirmed to the site that there had been problems with “certain test components.” The Commissioner also said the problems had been resolved and “were due to a manufacturing issue,” and said the FDA has confidence in the current manufacturing of the tests they’re distributing, which “have passed extensive quality control procedures and will provide the high-level of diagnostic accuracy we need…” Axios adds that “It was not immediately clear if or how possible contamination in the Atlanta lab played a role in delays or problems” that America’s been experiencing with its coronavirus testing: The U.S. government had admitted to problems with its diagnostic tests — which have put the U.S. well behind China and South Korea in doing large-scale testing of the American public for the coronavirus… As of Friday, South Korea had tested 65,000 people for the coronavirus; the U.S. had tested only 459, per Science Magazine. China can reportedly conduct up to 1.6 million tests a week. Although the World Health Organization has sent testing kits to 57 other countries, the U.S. decided to make its own. There have also been problems with the tests themselves. On Feb. 12, the FDA announced that health labs across the country were having problems validating the CDC’s diagnostic test, Science reports in an in-depth account of what went wrong with the tests. The FDA announced yesterday that public health labs can create their own diagnostic test. Scott Becker, the CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, told Science that he expects that public health labs will be able to do 10,000 tests a day by the end of the week. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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