Dr. Francis Collins, director for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said the Abbott ID Now machine, which is used to perform rapid coronavirus tests, has “about a 15% false negative rate.”
Speaking to the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, Collins said there are about 18,000 of the machines out there right now, performing tests, which have results in roughly 15 minutes.
“If you're in a circumstance where you really really don't want to miss a diagnosis of somebody who's already carrying the virus, you'd like to have something that has a higher sensitivity than that. And I know they're working on how to make that happen,” Collins said.
“It's certainly one of the most exciting things we've got right now, but we think we could even do better,” he said.
“I would say if we have a new technology that would give a twofer where you could get both a virus test and an antibody test at the same time for a really good price -- that might be something we'd be pretty interested in,” Collins said.
As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, the All of Us Research Program is hoping to do antibody survey of a million people. “We're already up to over 300,000 that have signed up, and those individuals answer lots of questions, their electronic health records are available for researchers to look at. And after they'd been anonymized, they get blood samples, over the course of time," Collins said.