The coronavirus testing program active in Seattle and backed by Bill Gates was bridging the gap in testing numbers needed to reopen state economies.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to halt the Seattle-based coronavirus testing program pending reviews. The program was promoted by health officials in Seattle alongside billionaire philanthropist Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The coronavirus testing program that was backed by Bill Gates sent test kits to the residences of both sick and healthy people. The idea behind the program was to help in extensive testing at par with the per million percentage that medical experts opine is required for states to reopen the economy safely. The Bill Gates-backed program has already tested thousands reportedly and much to the dismay of authorities identified dozens of new Covid-19 cases that had gone undiagnosed. Gates had also recently gone on record to call the Trump administration’s Covid-19 numbers as ‘bogus’.
Additional authorizations needed
The test program’s promoter Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) stated that the US FDA had ordered it to pause the testing operation until it receives additional authorizations. However, the SCAN also stated that the procedures are safe.
The SCAN website said, “We have been notified that a separate federal emergency use authorization (EUA) is required to return results for self-collected tests. The FDA has not raised any concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of SCAN’s test, but we have been asked to pause testing until we receive that additional authorization.”
Another proof of the blundering Covid-19 response?
The halt in the crucial private testing program is another clear evidence of the current mismanagement and uncoordinated response by federal agencies. The guidelines for such testing programs were issued at the federal level. However, the implementation and overseeing is the responsibility of states and local bodies.
Watch: Bill Gates explains why US Covid-19 testing numbers are ‘bogus’
As per The New York Times, the first to report the news, unnamed US spokespersons raised safety concerns regarding the home test kits. The accuracy of the results is also under scrutiny.
Recent reliability concerns around Covid-19 tests
While the issue of inaccuracy has surfaced with some of the rapid antibody tests in the market, the Bill Gates-back testing program does not test for antibodies. Bill Gates, who has also been at the front of the private sector response to the coronavirus, claimed the SCAN testing program to be “an effective tool in guiding public health responses”.
Bill Gates has reportedly earmarked over half his fortune in the fightback against the Covid-19 pandemic. He is also heavily invested in coronavirus vaccine research.
Gates recently wrote about the now halted test program in Seattle, “Not only will it (the SCAN test program) help improve our understanding of the outbreak in Seattle, it will also provide valuable information about the virus for other communities around the world.”
SCAN said it is “actively working” to address the concerns raised by the FDA in a bid to resume the testing program in Seattle “as soon as possible”.