A 60 Minutes investigation has unveiled that Federal officials were aware of the distribution of flawed COVID-19 anti-body tests and did nothing about it for months.
The failure of officials to act expeditiously has consequently caused inaccurate data about the advance of the virus. The FDA is now under investigation by Congress to understand why tests were not reviewed before over 200 companies flooded the market with kits.
As Coronavirus quickly turned into a pandemic, diagnostic kits were in short supply so city officials opted to use alternative tests that would detect the presence of antibodies as a way to help to determine if it was safe to open up.
In Laredo, Texas, city health director Dr. Hector Gonzalez discovered that the thousands of antibody tests they had ordered from a Chinese company had a 20 percent accuracy rate. Officials immediately alerted Homeland Security about the flawed tests, which were then seized, followed by an investigation. Other than that, little else was done.
According to 60 Minutes’ report, health officials from across the nation found their test kits to be defective in some way, too.
It was only in May when the FDA began requiring test developers to submit data showing the effectiveness of their kits.
Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said the mandate came too late. Three months went by before the FDA began pulling tests. By then, the data from those kits were being used to determine whether or not to send EMTs, policemen and firemen back to work. Many states are now experiencing an increased spike in Coronavirus infections. On Friday (June 26), Texas Governor Abbott ordered for bars to shut down and for restaurants to reduce capacity to 50 percent.
The US representative is now investigating the FDA for not regulating the antibody tests.
“Fraudulent tests flooded the market,” Krishnamoorthi said. “Hundreds and hundreds of tests taken by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. When you open the floodgates to virtually any product being sold by anybody, well, guess what? Shysters, scam artists, and people who are preying on unsuspecting consumers enter the fray.”
The three-month 60 Minutes investigation will air on CBS, Sunday, June 28 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.