KEY POINTS

  • Some of the coronavirus testing kits meant to diagnose the disease faster are flawed and the results, unreliable 
  • CDC made this embarrassing discovery after it shipped the testing kits to all 50 states
  • States will have to keep relying on CDC for Covid-19 results

Amid the Novel coronavirus outbreak that's infected 13 persons in the United States thus far comes the alarming news some of the testing kits that identify this highly-contagious disease can't do the job.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday said some coronavirus testing kits sent to state laboratories around the country don't work properly. It said the kits will supposedly enable states to conduct their own testing for Covid-19 and get results faster than they would by shipping samples to the its headquarters in Atlanta. Each kit can test 700 to 800 specimens from patients, said CDC.

What's frustrating about this snafu is states will have to keep relying on CDC for Covid-19 results, a process that might take up to several days. The delay in diagnosis might contribute to the disease's spread as patients under investigation (PUI) will remain unconfirmed as having the disease.

"Obviously, a state wouldn’t want to be doing this test and using it to make clinical decisions if it isn’t working as well, as perfectly, at the state as it is at CDC," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), said at a news conference.

Last week, CDC announced it had begun shipping more than 200 kits to laboratories throughout the country. It hasn't said how many of the kits are flawed, however. CDC also planned to ship another 200 to labs in other countries. The flaw was discovered before the kits were shipped overseas.

During trial runs in some states, the kits produced results that were “inconclusive,” said Dr. Messonnier.

“Things may not always go as smoothly as we may like,” noted Dr Messonnier.

She said CDC is working closely with states, and will deliver new ingredients to laboratories that have encountered the problem. NCIRD, which she heads, is part of CDC. It's responsible for the planning, coordination and conduct of immunization programs in the United States.

Covid-19 continues its relentless spread throughout China. On the other hand, the Chinese government on Wednesday claims an initial victory in controlling the outbreak, saying the number of newly reported cases has fallen for the eighth straight day.

As of 6:10 a.m., Thursday, Hong Kong time, China reports 1,363 deaths directly attributable to Covid-19. It has recorded 60,063 confirmed cases and says 5,680 persons have recovered from the coronavirus. Of the total confirmed cases, mainland China accounts for 59,539, while 1,361 of deaths are also on mainland China. The other deaths were reported in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong reported its 41st to 50th confirmed cases of Covid-19. It also said its first patient to recover from Covid-19 was discharged from hospital.

According to its website, the CDC stands ready to provide technical assistance to determine the source of an infection, learn how it's transmitted and find a cure, "much like any other disease outbreak According to its website, the CDC stands ready to provide technical assistance to determine the source of an infection, learn how it's transmitted and find a cure, "much like any other disease outbreak" Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Kevin C. Cox