Coronavirus: US detects its 14th confirmed case as CDC finds that some of its diagnostic test kits are faulty
The CDC, which had earlier developed test kits to diagnose the infection, began dispatching about 200 testing kits to labs across the US and 200 more to over 30 other countries last week
The US confirmed its 14th coronavirus case and as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prepares for the worse, it found out that some of its test kits -- shipped to labs across the country and around the world --are flawed.
The CDC, which had earlier developed test kits to diagnose the infection, began dispatching about 200 testing kits to labs across the US and 200 more to over 30 other countries last week. Each kit, they said, could test about 700 to 800 samples.
As part of the routine, labs that received these kits conducted quality control tests before using it on actual patients. Some of these checks --meant to check whether they were working properly -- failed. Some labs reported “inconclusive” results from the test, the CDC explained during a press briefing.
At the moment, however, it is unclear how many of those shipped need fixing. The CDC is already in talks with the states to correct the issues in the testing kits, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease said. "During a response like this, we know things may not always go as smoothly as we like."
A few states found no errors in the quality control checks. The Illinois Department of Public Health, which found no trouble, will begin using the test kits on suspected patients.
The CDC also added that their test kit was unrelated to a previous diagnostic error. A labeling mix-up resulted in the release of an infected patient from quarantine in San Diego, California.
The sample the patient gave was never run through the diagnostic test, Messonnier said. The team, however, ran the test again within 24 hours of the "mishap", during which the patient was found to be infected with the coronavirus.
"The mishap was unfortunate but we have corrected this from happening again in the future by adding additional quality control," Messonnier added.
Currently, China's Hubei province saw 242 additional deaths on Wednesday, February, 12, -- twice as many as on the previous day. The virus has killed more than 1,300 people and infected over 60,000 people worldwide.
In response to the growing numbers, the CDC is stocking up its resources: medical supplies, such as masks and gloves, to ensure enough is available in case of an outbreak here. However, the CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks by the general public.