Brian Monahan, the Capitol doctor, confirmed the FDA’s warning in a Monday memo obtained from POLITICO, calling the test “the most accurate available” and stating that the risk of a false negative was “a problem for all coronavirus tests.” is “.
“We await additional information from the FDA and our professional advisers in the coming days regarding concerns about the ongoing use of this test for the Capitol community,” Monahan wrote in the note on Monday.
False negative results are particularly worrying as they can lead infected people to unwittingly spread the virus and delay their treatment.
The House and Senate leaders, along with the Capitol Doctor, ran a mass testing program in November to better manage the risk of Covid-19 as hundreds of members travel from across the country every week. Congressional officials initially resisted calls to test the building in a nationwide defect.
Questions about the accuracy of the curative test arise as concerns about the virus skyrocketed at the Capitol this week. Hundreds of members will have to vote in person on the floor – instead of using proxy – and potentially trigger a superspreader event on the opening day of the new congress.
More than 50 lawmakers have publicly announced they tested positive for the virus, including one member, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), who tested positive after a curative test at the Capitol over the weekend.
The FDA says the test should not be used as a single data point for treatment or patient management decisions. Healthcare providers can reduce the risk of inaccurate results by restricting use of the test to people who have had symptoms for 14 days or fewer, the agency added.
“Consider retesting your patients with another test if you suspect that the curative SARS-Cov-2 test recently gave an inaccurate result.” The FDA warning states. “If the tests were done more than two weeks ago and there is no reason to suspect a current SARS-CoV-2 infection, a retest is not necessary.”
In recent days, lawmakers and officers have complained that House officials have allowed several quarantined lawmakers to attend this week’s trials, which are protected by a plexiglass barrier. Several GOP lawmakers continue to violate public health measures, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.
“We believe that we have taken all precautions to ensure the safety not only of our members and the health of our members, but also of our employees,” said the majority leader of the house Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, speaking of Capitol officials’ renewed efforts to enforce masks and social distancing.
Fred Turner, CEO of Curative, told POLITICO that the company is aware of the FDA’s safety communications and plans to provide more information soon.
“We believe in our data and are working closely with the FDA on this matter,” said Turner. “Testing sensitivity and accuracy on behalf of our patients is at the heart of what we do.”
The Curative test, which must be analyzed in a laboratory, uses a technology – the real-time polymerase chain reaction – that is widely recognized as the gold standard for diagnosing Covid-19. Testing experts consider PCR to be more accurate than quick point-of-care testing, including the Abbott system used in the White House. However, with PCR testing, it typically takes hours to get results, not minutes, to run quick tests.
The Capitol healing tests aren’t the only ones lawmakers have relied on in recent months. some were too tested at private locations in their districts before returning to Washington.