Apr 12, 2020 - Health

FDA commissioner warns about accuracy of unapproved antibody tests

Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warned on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that antibody tests for the coronavirus that haven't undergone the FDA's scientific review "may not be as accurate as we'd like them to be."

Why it matters: Developing the antibody tests, which are used to determine whether a person previously had the coronavirus and is therefore immune, will be crucial to understanding the scale of the outbreak. Some U.S. officials consider the development of an effective test to be a key step in being able to reopen the economy.

  • So far, the FDA has authorized only one antibody test under an "Emergency Use Authorization."

What they're saying: "We know that no test is 100% perfect," Hahn said. "But what we don't want are widely inaccurate tests because as I said before, that's going to be much worse having wildly inaccurate tests than having no tests."

Go deeper: The FDA's about-face on coronavirus antibody testing

Go deeper

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.

May 22, 2020 - Health

Update: Study linking hydroxychloroquine to increased death risk is retracted

Hydroxychloroquine. Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

Editor’s note: The study referenced in this story has been retracted by the medical journal The Lancet due to questions on the veracity of its primary data sources. Read more here.

Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing, a retrospective review published in The Lancet shows.

Why it matters: Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration, President Trump has insisted the anti-malarial drug as a "game-changer" and admitted he has taken it as a preventative even though the drug is unproven.

13 hours ago - Health

Medical journal retracts study that fueled hydroxychloroquine concerns

Photo: George Frey/AFP via Getty Images

The Lancet medical journal retracted a study on Thursday that found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine had a higher mortality rate and increased heart problem than those who did nothing, stating that the authors were "unable to complete an independent audit of the data underpinning their analysis."

Why it matters: The results of the study, which claimed to have analyzed data from nearly 96,000 patients on six continents, led several governments to ban the use of the anti-malarial drug for coronavirus patients due to safety concerns.