Thursday, April 16, 2020

Supply Shortage Crimps Covid-19 Testing

The dirty little not-so-secret of Covid-19  testing is there is a national shortage of supplies that limits testing for the virus.   Labs are suffering from a shortage of swabs, reagents, and of course, protective gear.  The shortage is crippling the use of the new rapid-test kits that are now available.  The federal government just doubled the reimbursement for such tests since they were being used at less than 10% capacity.  Bloomberg reported yesterday:

Abbott Laboratories rolled out its third test for Covid-19 even as the U.S. government, in an effort to spur a more widespread search for the virus, plans to nearly double the amount it pays providers to run existing tests.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will raise the reimbursement rate for tests run on Abbott’s m2000 and similar machines to $100 from $51 as an incentive to get hospitals and medical centers to hire more technicians and ramp up their use. The m2000 machines, which can process up to 1 million tests per week, have been running at less than 10% of their capacity, Deborah Birx, a top State Department health official, said last week....

The U.S., currently the epicenter of the pandemic, has faced repeated problems with diagnostic tests as it attempts to identify patients, track the virus across the country and curtail new infections. The latest entry from Abbott’s portfolio spots antibodies produced as a patient recovers, a key step in the development of immunity to ward off repeat infections. ...

People can get the antibody tests during a doctor’s visit, once they are up and running in local laboratories. Abbott plans to start shipping them Thursday and will distribute 4 million by the end of April. By June, the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company plans to produce 20 million per month. The test identified 100% of the 73 positive samples and correctly ruled it out in 99.6% of 1,070 negative samples in a study, the company said.

Abbott’s two tests are rounded out by a rapid diagnostic device that can tell if a person is infected in as little as five minutes....

A lack of reagents, swabs, personal protective gear and specialized equipment has severely hampered testing capacity, according to an April 13 letter to Birx from AAMC Chief Executive Officer David Skorton.... Article

Dr. Skorton stated in the letter (posted below):

We appreciate the actions the FDA has taken in the last month to reduce regulatory barriers to developing, validating, and deploying SARS-CoV-2 tests. We have also been pleased to see the continued issuance of Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for tests developed by commercial labs that are designed to run on existing machines. The promise of these tests is that labs that already own the relevant machines can start running the tests quickly, provided that the machines are in working order and that the labs have the proper reagents, transport media, and specialized equipment for the specific test; adequate training of technicians to run the complex test; and sufficient swabs and personal protective equipment (PPE) for collecting the specimens without endangering the health of the health care provider. As we have come to learn over the past several weeks, despite the best efforts of all parties, not one of these components is readily available in sufficient quantities to each and every lab that needs them. Widespread but uneven shortages in one or more of the essential components for testing have resulted in a situation where few labs are able to maximize the testing capacity of any one machine, platform,or test....

As the lab directors and CEOs described in these two calls, laboratories across the country are working day and night to expand testing capacity but are severely hampered by shortages of needed  reagents, swabs for testing, PPE, and specialized equipment designed by companies to be used with their own machines. The inability to secure adequate quantities of any of these components will result in lower testing capacity. The absence of certain components could result in testing machines sitting unused....

we hear a constant cry to remedy the various shortages that leave individuals untested and our member institutions at a loss to improve the situation on a lab-by-lab basis....
If it isn't one shortage, it's another where this virus is concerned.  


Anonymous said...

Yes, well, money is the only incentive these days.
Did you know that once upon a time, every child got a polio vaccine for free? Jonas Salk's focus wasn't his own wealth. Indeed, he used his resources, to start the Salk Institute. Medicine wasn't about selling to the highest bidder, but about conquering disease and making people well.
A 20% profit over cost was considered success and generated sufficient wealth even a few decades ago. Anything more was considered obscene.
You know...sorta like the law was once about justice instead of one-upmanship.
Medicine and the law were professions, not businesses and the reward was a lasting contribution for your efforts through meaningful work Respectable business was about quality and endurance and making " the better mousetrap or meeting the greatest needs. Now business is about making the disposable and quickly obsolete for the quick buck.
Accomplishment in a life well lived and honor, not baubles to show off.
And, even more astounding, as a result of values we once held, there were wealthy men who were not considered to be socially acceptable because of their poor character and lack of honor in their dealings. They found it impossible to buy respectability.
Everything's for sale now. Killing people with shoddy products or killing people with bad drugs or killing people by making medicine unaffordable is all ok now. Just make sure the price put on human life is less than the profit margin.

Anonymous said...

Corona-chan isn't even close to finished killing fat greedy humans.

Anonymous said...

We need to be happy that groups other then the government are working toward a vaccine for Corona. If our government were running it, a "Bipartisan" (Government code for losing proposition) committee would fight for a year or two before someone with no experience would be appointed "Corona Czar". Ten years later, we would have a vaccine, after $87,853,623,533.42 had been doled out to whoever had the most faithful sister in law, or whoever owed the most favors.

NOTICE: These were the comments of a "Too Much Government" proponent.

Anonymous said...

I think 8:19 nailed it. It seems to me we are getting a glimpse behind the mask of respectability into the systemic rot of human character.

Anonymous said...

8:19 and 10:03, we live in a capitalist country. It is the obligation of the boards for these companies to maximize profits. If you want to live in some socialist country with free healthcare, move to Europe or Canada.

Anonymous said...

8:19 is pretty on point. Once corporations really became entrenched in medicine things began to go down hill. They saw the opportunity to make it a business instead of a service. Now with big pharmaceutical companies, the consolidation of big insurance companies, and big hospital associations (aka integrated managed care consortiums like kaiser perm, cleveland clinic, etc), the only focus is how to make a dollar off the patient's back. Small private practice clinics that were managed by the physicians are now well on the way out. It's too difficult for them. The health care system is set up for the big corporations with the ability to afford a high overhead. Small clinics can't afford to do the paperwork and shift through all the new rules and regulations. People talk about needing "health care reform", and I dont necessarily disagree with them. I just think it's the wrong term. Our health care system is the best in the world (seriously). We need health insurance reform.

Calm Down said...

@everyone complaining about capitalism
Your comments would be more on point if you could point to a socialist government that has handled it better. We ain't perfect, but it's the best thing going. And nothing is truly free to us, except the gospel, which cost God his only Son.

Anonymous said...

1025, you do realize Gordon Gekko went to prison at the end of the movie, as did the inspiration for that character, don’t you? -10:03

Anonymous said...

@11:39 most democratic, capitalistic first world countries have a system to provide health care to their citizens that makes ours look like a joke. Sweden, Canada, Germany, England etc etc. The taxes they pay for their health care are much less than the premiums we pay to our insurance providers. And they don't get requests for tests and procedures denied right and left like we do either. Insurance companies, big pharma and big hospitals answer to their boards and their shareholders, not the patients. They could give two shits about what the patient thinks. The way things are set up in the US now, a person has no choice but to buy a health insurance policy or rack up thousands of dollars in medical dept if you get sick. That's not capitalism, that's exploitation.

Kingfish said...

And how much of that is subsidized by our defense spending? They take the part of GDP that would've gone for defense and use it for other goodies.

Anonymous said...

I worked in a Detroit hospital as a surgeon for 9 years. I can assure you that the Canadians that can afford to pay cash for medical care and treatment all come to the US... hips knees etc... the wait is ling for that care in Canada. They come to the US. Same in England. The wait is what the problem is.

Calm Down said...

From personal knowledge, the idea that Canada's or England's is better than the USA is a gross misstatement. Patients are shuffled into a line and depending on their age and condition, do not get needed procedures. While some aspects of their system may be 'better', from an overall perspective, it is demonstrably less effective at providing care. When is the last patient who flew to Germany to get an operation? What is the death rate per capita for any of the socialist countries. And lumping Sweden in as a socialist country is a dated perspective. Might read up on what's happened there since 1970.

"Indeed, modern Sweden’s success can be seen as more a shift away from the far left policy that predominated from the 1960s till the end of the century. During recent years Swedish policies have shifted strongly to the center-right, placing the once dominant Social Democrats in deep crisis."

Again, our system is not perfect. Improvements could be made. But it far outshines the other models. I expect we'll fare this storm better than the other countries you mention. And if not, I still consider myself blessed to live in the USA.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the data shows that countries like the UK (which was late to the "lockdown" party) and Sweden (which still hasn't) are now experiencing a rapid increase in the number of cases. Both now have more cases per 1000s of people than even Mississippi (but all are in the 12-1300 per mil range). OTOH, states that locked down sooner and more completely, like Texas and California, have half that rate per 1000s of population. Granted, population concentration/dispersion played some part, but it is becoming pretty clear that "lockdown" and a population that follows basic precautions works. But sensible people already knew that. or if they didn't already know it, they were sensible enough to listen to the people that did know and told them so rather than listen to a bunch of nonsense from their fellow idiots on social media.

Anonymous said...

@9:36 is correct. Our government bureaucracy would inhibit the development of a vaccine by at least a year. We will see other countries rapidly develop, test, and roll out a vaccine while our CDC is still scratching its ass. I just hope they make enough to smuggle some over here.

Anonymous said...

The US system has now resulted in hundreds of thousands of people losing their coverage because they were laid off as a result of coronavirus. I dont think that has happened in other countries with better health care systems.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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