Health officials at CareXpress are warning area residents about new antibody rapid tests for COVID-19 that offer results within minutes in Amarillo and Canyon.
“Most of these rapid antibody tests have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and there are serious questions about their accuracy,” Robert Gross, M.D. at CareXpress in Canyon said. Gross is certified in Public Health by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. “There have been numerous reports of the tests flagging people as having the antibody when they do not, which can create a dangerous belief that people have immunity when they don’t.”
“It’s also important to note that some of these tests are not designed to detect active infections,” Gross explained. “That, too, could lead to a false sense of security and someone who is asymptomatic could expose the other to the virus, believing that they do not have it.”
FDA Commissioner, Stephen Hahn, shared similar concerns while on Meet the Press recently. “I am concerned that some of the antibody tests that are on the market, that haven’t gone through the FDA scientific review, may not be as accurate as we’d like them to be,” Hahn was quoted as saying.
All CareXpress locations do offer an FDA approved test for COVID-19 that provides results in a 24-hour time period.
“We want to be clear: we do have a test for COVID-19 which has been approved by the FDA, and we are able to get our patients the results within a day or so,” Gross said. “These are not antibody tests, but we feel confident in the results they provide, and they do it pretty quickly.”
Medical professionals are expected to see an uptick in non-FDA approved tests and urge area residents to ask providers if the specific tests they are administering have been approved by the FDA.
“The bottom line is that we just don’t know if the non-approved FDA tests are accurate, and there’s too much at risk to take chances with them,” Gross added. “I understand that we’re all ready to get back to a more normal life, but we must be smart about how we do that and do it in the safest manner possible.”