“A number of commercially available COVID-19 antibody tests, which look at a patient’s blood for signs of past infection, did not pass Mayo Clinic quality screening or meet their expectations for use, researchers from the hospital concluded in a joint investigation by the clinic and ABC News,” Dr. Mark Abdelmalek and Megan Christie wrote for ABC News. “One rapid finger-prick test even wrongly displayed a positive result for antibodies after researchers decided to use a saline-like solution, instead of a blood sample, to see what happened. An automatic fail, doctors said. ‘Clearly there had been a mistake in how that kit was constructed,’ said Dr. Thomas Grys, the director of microbiology at Mayo Clinic who tested the rapid test kits, which typically rely on a finger prick and a drop of blood to return results in 15 minutes. Grys said the Mayo Clinic alerted the manufacturer of the test kit of the problem and by Thursday, they had a ‘reformulated’ version that appeared to correct the mistake with the saline-like solution. The researchers are still testing the kits’ overall accuracy. In partnership with the ABC News Investigative Unit, Mayo Clinic doctors in Arizona and Minnesota ran over 4,500 tests on both rapid and slower, traditional lab antibody tests. Nineteen different COVID-19 antibody brands selected by the clinic were tested in under a month, a process that would normally take around a year, they said. For the review, the clinic did not provide brand names to ABC News.” Dr. Mark Abdelmalek and Megan Christie, “Mayo Clinic doctors find many COVID-19 antibody tests fail their quality standards,” ABC News.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.