May 9, 2020 - Health

FDA authorizes emergency use for first coronavirus antigen test

COVID-19 under a transmission electron microscope. Photo: Image Point FR-LPN/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized a new coronavirus antigen test produced by Quidel Corporation, a California-based diagnostic testing company.

Why it matters: Antigen tests deliver results quickly and are relatively easy to produce, though their results are less accurate than the standard tests the U.S. has been using so far.

What's happening: “We are ramping up manufacturing to go from 200,000 tests next week [week of May 11] to more than a million a week within several weeks,” Douglas Bryant, Quidel’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal.

  • Quidel has currently provided roughly 36,000 "test-analyzer instruments" in doctors' offices and hospitals, per the WSJ.

Between the lines: Antigen tests create a greater chance of false negatives, CNBC reports, and a negative antigen result may need to be confirmed with additional testing. But, positive antigen test results are usually highly accurate.

The big picture: The U.S. will need coronavirus tests that can detect antigens, or the part of a pathogen that triggers an immune response, as part of a testing breakthrough needed to screen a large number of people for the virus, Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said in April.

Go deeper: Coronavirus testing increasing, but still not good enough

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Coronavirus cases spike in Texas, Oregon and Arizona

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.

13 hours ago - Health

HHS requests data on race and ethnicity with coronavirus test results

A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.