LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The FDA issued an alert this week about a coronavirus test made by a San Dimas diagnostics firm and used by the city of Los Angeles, warning the tests can produce false negative results.
The Food and Drug Administration says the Curative SARS-Cov-2 test have the potential of coming back with a false negative and risks the health of the patient and further spread COVID-19 within the community.
The tests should be administered only to people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, according to the FDA. However, testing in Los Angeles is available to people regardless of whether they are showing symptoms.
Mayor Eric Garcetti defended the use of the tests, saying that administering them on asymptomatic people has allowed the city to catch the virus in 92,000 cases that may have gone undetected otherwise.
“The choice is whether we find those 92,000 or not. It’s not like there’s some other tests that FDA says is better or that’s working better on asymptomatic (people),” he said. “I’d rather do it and continue to push forward with finding those tens of thousands of people that every single month we are finding who are asymptomatic.”
Curative is also defending its tests, and says they are working with the FDA and making sure the tests are labeled with appropriate warnings.
County health officials have long warned against over-reliance on a negative test result, saying that anyone who believes they were exposed to the virus should quarantine themselves, even if they tested negative. The county’s website notes that a negative test only indicates the virus wasn’t detected at the time the sample was taken, adding that a negative results “can also happen if the test was taken too early or the test missed your infection.”
The county’s testing website also states that “no test for COVID-19 is perfect” and could result in false negative or positive results. LA County reportedly stopped using Curative tests in June.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)