Epidemiologist: FDA 'all but given up its oversight' of coronavirus tests

Tim O'Donnell

Welcome to the wild, wild West of COVID-19 testing.

That's how Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, described the United States' situation, at least. Osterholm told NBC's Chuck Todd that because the original test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran into problems, the Food and Drug Administration has "all but given up its oversight" responsibility for the coronavirus tests on the market, which means many not-so-great tests have been able to sneak their way through.

Beyond that, Osterholm said the U.S. is coming up short on the amount of necessary reagents — that is, a substance that sparks the chemical reaction needed to actually carry out a test — because the government is not working with the private sector to make sure they have what they need.

Finally, Osterholm said tests don't perform well in places with low populations, noting that antibody tests can result in a high percentage of false positives in many places across the United States.



More stories from theweek.com
Trump campaign slams Senate GOP for memo advising candidates 'don't defend Trump' on COVID-19 response
JetBlue says passengers must wear face coverings beginning next week
Trump urges governors to reopen public schools before summer, gets no takers