Monday, March 30, 2020

Game Changer?

The new Abbott Labs test for Covid19 is looking like a game changer in the fight against the pandemic--for a number of reasons.

One reason the test could be a game changer is that it takes only about five minutes to get the results. That could allow doctors to get quick, early diagnoses, and then refer those who test positive for chloroquine+ therapy--hydroxychloroquine + azythromyacin. That therapy is said to work best and fastest on early stage cases of Covid19.

Playing into this scenario is the fact that the new test is run on Abbott Labs' ID NOW platform. This is a device that weighs 6.6 lbs. and is the size of a toaster. Most importantly of all, there are already 18,000 ID NOW devices in place in the U.S. As Abbott Labs pointed out, this is the most widely available molecular point-of-care testing platform in the nation, and is already in use to test for other diseases like influenza. There are no modifications to be made. The test is in the form of a cartridge that is inserted into the ID NOW device.

Put it all together and you have the possibility to do more tests faster and start chloroquine+ therapy at the earliest possible stage of the disease.

It doesn't take much imagination to envision this strategy drastically slashing mortality rates almost overnight. Donald J. Trump, Savior of the Nation? The mind boggles!

Here is an excerpt from an article in USAToday:

A five-minute, point-of-care coronavirus test could be coming to urgent care clinics next week, and experts say it could be "game-changing."  
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorization to Illinois-based medical device maker Abbott Labs on Friday for a coronavirus test that delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes, the company said.  
The company expects the tests to be available next week and expects to ramp up manufacturing to deliver 50,000 tests per day.  
"I am pleased that the FDA authorized Abbott's point-of-care test yesterday. This is big news and will help get more of these tests out in the field rapidly," FDA Commissioner Steve Hahn said in a statement. "We know how important it is to get point-of-care tests out in the field quickly. These tests that can give results quickly can be a game changer in diagnosing COVID-19."  
Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, echoed Hahn's comments on Twitter, calling the development a "game changer." Gottlieb also said it’s "very likely" that we’ll see additional approvals of point-of-care diagnostics behind this one, extending testing to doctor offices across the U.S.  
The new test comes in the form of a small cartridge that fits in the palm of your hand, said John Frels, Abbott's vice president of research and development.  
The test runs on the company's ID NOW platform, a 6.6-pound portable device the size of a small toaster. There are currently about 18,000 ID NOW instruments in the U.S. – the most widely available molecular point-of-care testing platform in the nation, Frels said.  
Unlike high-throughput batch testing platforms that can run hundreds of tests at a time but take several hours, the ID NOW platform is a bench-top instrument used at physician offices and urgent care clinics. The platform is typically used to run tests for other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, strep and RSV – and similarly uses samples from throat and nose swabs.


  1. TTR - the new regime?

    Test, Treat, Retreat - don't Cheat!

    Test - New diagnosis tool gives people certainty.
    Treat - If you need treatment get it early and fast.
    Retreat - Isolate to stop spread. You know you've got it so don't spread it!

    All we need to know now is if a single exposure to coronavirus provides immunity.

  2. "All we need to know now is if a single exposure to coronavirus provides immunity."

    Unfortunately nobody really knows that. There are some reports of reinfection, some disagreement on that, etc. Another question is--how long does such acquired immunity last? No definitive answer.

  3. I hope this test goes into widespread use.

    CA is still way behind on testing. The strategy seems to hope stay at home solves the infection.

    Couple of scenarios:

    1. Ca is just incompetent
    2. CA is only allowing limited testing by the right people / labs.
    3. CA is deliberately throttling tests to understate the number of infections
    4. CA has tests on order, that will arrive soon
    5. Shortages of reactants and such are causing delays

    Be nice if the press would investigate this CA Snafu...

    1. Strange situation out there. My impression from half a continent away is that, overall, Newsom has been very quiet about the whole thing, after an initial outburst.

    2. Here is the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 webpage. A lot of information with a link to a site where daily news releases are posted. There is a fair amount of information on testing.

      Do those questioning the amount of testing being done know how many persons are displaying symptoms? It is up to their doctors to get them tested.

      IMO, speculation is useless except to cultivate more uncertainty. Better to say one doesn’t know, go searching for answers, than to speculate and label something a Snafu. I am a native Californian of reasonable intelligence. So far I cannot find a reason to call “Snafu”. Maybe those doing that should cite some facts instead of speculation…

      Newsom has been a problem governor, but he seems to be agreeing with the President and his coronavirus team. And he isn’t on television every day, wearing us out with a lot of blather.

    3. Check out my brand new post--looks like pretty good news for CA.

    4. The Los Angeles Times has an article on the bottleneck created by very increased testing in California: The commercial lab - Quest - that has been working around the clock on processing the tests. Causing longer than acceptable delays in results. They are now sending tests to their offices out of state for processing. Labcorp is not processing in CA for reasons not disclosed. The block is in the processing labs.

      Note: The LAT can be snarky about ad blockers, etc. I read their articles by clicking on Reader.

  4. I'm watching a YouTube video by Doctor Duc C. Vuong. He is putting the virus in clear, easy-to-understand terms, illustrations, etc., with a (slight) touch of humor and down-to-earth advice, coupled with the attitude of take this serious but don't panic approach.

    You may have already posted something like this in the past week, or so. If it's duplicative, I apologize. I'm a simple man and I like clear, big picture advice.