What We're Reading: Trump to Revamp National Stockpile; NIH Tests New Treatment; Abbott Test Results Raise Concerns

May 15, 2020
AJMC Staff

President Trump will restructure the Strategic National Stockpile and increase America's production of supplies; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is testing a new combination therapy for coronavirus disease 2019; FDA officials issue warning on Abbott Laboratories' rapid response test.

Trump to Ramp Up Strategic National Stockpile

NIH Investigates COVID-19 Combination Therapy

FDA Warns of Accuracy Issues in Rapid Response Test

President Trump and his administration plan to restructure the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to prepare for potential future pandemics, the Associates Press reports. The president will also sign an executive order providing authority to ramp up domestic industrial capabilities to produce SNS supplies, such as personal protective equipment, bringing this sector of manufacturing back to the United States. He said the measures are intended to reduce dependency on foreign supplies. The announcement came on the same day whistleblower Rick Bright testified in front of Congress claiming the administration failed to adequately prepare for the current pandemic.The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has begun studying a combination of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, and azithromycin, an antibiotic, as a potential coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment, according to The Hill. The trial will be conducted on 2000 adult patients with COVID-19 to determine whether the combination can prevent hospitalization and death from the disease. However, a panel of doctors and experts assembled by the NIH warned against combining the 2 medications outside of the clinical trial, due to potentially harmful adverse effects, including heart rhythm problems.Federal health officials at the FDA issued a warning on the accuracy of Abbott Laboratories’ rapid COVID-19 test, currently used at thousands of hospitals and the White House, the Associated Press reports. Preliminary data suggest the 15-minute test can miss cases of COVID-19 and falsely clear infected patients. On May 13, investigators at New York University first reported research indicating the test can miss up to half of infections flagged by a rival test, produced by Cepheid. However, the research has not been peer reviewed and was based on around 100 patients. The test is used daily to monitor President Trump and Coronavirus Task Force members.