A medical assistant demonstrating a COVID-19 test. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Diagnostic testing for the coronavirus is threatened yet again, this time by a shortage of critical lab materials, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The testing capabilities in the U.S. are still grossly behind those of other countries. This latest problem could set us even further back, allowing the coronavirus to continue to spread undetected through communities.

The state of play: U.S. labs may not have enough of the supplies used to extract generic material from any virus in a patient's sample, which is a key part of the test.

  • Qiagen, a supplier of these "RNA extraction" kits, confirmed to Politico that the product is backordered.

What's next: CDC director Robert Redfield told Politico that he didn't know how the agency would deal with a shortage of the kits.

  • He added that he is hopeful "there will be mechanisms between multiple manufacturers to correct" it.

Go deeper: Lab for coronavirus test kits may have been contaminated

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden enters final stretch with huge cash advantage over Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3 on Election Day until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.