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Abbott Laboratories coronavirus test kit

A report released Wednesday revealed that a COVID-19 test from Abbott Laboratories that Donald Trump has frequently touted has a high failure rate.

The Bloomberg report, which cites a new study out of New York University, states that the research, "which has yet to be confirmed, found that Abbott's ID NOW missed at least one-third of positive cases detected with a rival test and much as 48% when using the currently recommended dry nasal swabs."


The Abbott test received emergency use authorization from the FDA on March 27, and in a March 30 press conference at the White House, Trump took the machine out of its box and displayed it for reporters while discussing its availability and the role it would play in advancing America's testing capability.

Trump has repeatedly promoted and praised the test since then.

March 30: 'Highly accurate'

During a press briefing with the White House coronavirus task force on March 30, Trump stated, "We have something from Abbott Labs, which is right here, and that's a five-minute test, highly accurate."

Later in the briefing, Trump called the test "incredible" and described it as "not nearly as disturbing to do as the other tests."

April 10: 'Very quick' and 'very easy'

In a task force briefing on April 10, Trump called the test "very fast."

"We have the Abbott test, which is very quick and very easy. It goes very fast," he said.

He added that they also had a "lesser test that we talked about where we can talk about a larger area," but did not specify to what he was referring.

April 17: 'New and innovative"

During another task force press briefing on April 17, Trump said his administration had been "promoting the development of new and innovative tests," specifically mentioning the "15-minute Abbott test."

"As of yesterday, we have distributed nearly 660,000 Abbott IDs. Now, that's a — an incredible test," he said, later in the briefing. "...It's fantastic. It's a hot — it's the hot one."

He also thanked Abbott Laboratories for being "incredible."

April 18: 'A lot of people' like it

"A lot of people like the Abbott test that we came up with," Trump said during another briefing on April 18. "Abbott is a brand-new technology, brand-new test. It's great. It's five minutes, boom, you put it in."

He noted, "And we're making thousands of machines. Abbott is making thousands and thousands of machines."

Trump also said he'd been tested using both a nasal swap test and "the new test that just came out, the Abbott, where they just touch your nose, basically. And they put it in a machine, and literally, a few minutes later, they tell you if you're fine."

"I was lucky in both cases, because I've seen the damage that this does to people," he added. "But we have great tests."

April 20: I 'love the Abbott test'

In a task force press briefing on April 20, Trump claimed, "A lot of people love the Abbott test. So do I."

"You know, the Abbott test is great because it's, boom, it's — they touch, they put it in, and in five minutes you have — the problem is that doesn't do massive numbers like the big machine," he said.

April 30: 'The rage'

"[The Abbott test is] a brand-new test," Trump said on April 30. "That didn't exist eight weeks ago, and now it's like the rage."

He added, "Everybody wants that test."

Later in the briefing, Trump once again called the test "so great," claiming the prior administration had left them with "empty cupboards."

"We started off with bad, broken tests and obsolete tests," he claimed, declining to elaborate on the remark or specify to what he was referring.

Medical experts have said a robust medical testing system — with as many as 5 million tests or more being conducted each day — needs to be in place before the country can reopen safely for business.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, has repeatedly warned that a premature return without such a scheme could lead to renewed outbreaks and more deaths.

Additionally, testing systems would have to have a much lower failure rate than what has been reported for the Abbott system to meet the thresholds that experts have indicated.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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