Everyone is working hard to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19. Testing is increasing, and the demand is higher than ever. At The Urgency Room, we are conducting COVID testing using Abbott’s ID NOW molecular test. We want to take a moment to tell you why we chose this test and why we think it’s a wonderful fit for our patients.
There are a lot of tests out there, and likely many more tests to come, but as we know, not all tests are alike. Here is a little background on some of what is out there today. While this certainly doesn’t include everything, it's helpful in understanding why we’re using Abbott’s ID NOW rapid test at The Urgency Room.
Typically, there are two types of tests for COVID-19: viral testing and antibody testing. Viral tests determine if you currently have an infection while antibody tests determine if you have had the virus previously. There are 2 common types of viral tests: molecular and antigen. Molecular tests are the most sensitive, as they look for the viral RNA, whereas antigen tests look for surface markers. Our ID NOW test is an example of one of the 2 molecular testing options available: NAAT (nucleic acid amplification) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction).
The ID NOW test was designed to be used in “point of care” environments and ideal for places like The Urgency Room, where samples are not transported offsite, are run immediately, and patients are not staying for long periods of time. The goal is to provide highly accurate, rapid testing to identity infection quickly and in-turn, reduce the spread.
The test received some recent scrutiny regarding its accuracy in the media coverage of the President's recent positive COVID status while testing with the ID NOW tests. While it can be difficult and time consuming to compare tests side by side, Abbott was able to demonstrate with some new study data that the rapid ID NOW test produces its original accuracy and sensitivity claims. According to John Hackett, Ph. D. divisional vice president of Applied Research and Technology for Abbott’s diagnostic business, “In the beginning of the pandemic we had to rely on samples and modeling to predict test performance. But now we have a significant body of real-world, clinical data that support the critical role ID NOW is playing in identifying infection rapidly in places where people show up for care.”
As users of the ID Now, we were glad to see this new data come through to ensure we were using an accurate test for our patients. A quick summary of the data found in the new study below:
Post-Authorization Study Data
Abbott has completed an interim analysis of its ID NOW post-authorization study. A total of 1,003 people were evaluated across two care environments: urgent care clinics (acute care) and hospitals and nursing homes (in-patient care). In these two care environments, the ID NOW delivered the following agreement to lab-based molecular PCR tests:
- Overall performance of 93.3% positive agreement (sensitivity) and 98.4% negative agreement (specificity). Further, in the 161 patients with high viral titers (Ct <33), and therefore most likely to transmit virus, ID NOW showed performance of 97.0% positive agreement (sensitivity).
- Performance of 95.0% positive agreement (sensitivity) and 97.9% negative agreement (specificity) in subjects within seven days post symptom onset. Further, in the 129 patients with high viral titers (Ct <33), and therefore most likely to transmit virus, ID NOW showed performance of 98.4% positive agreement (sensitivity).
- Performance of 94.6% positive agreement (sensitivity) and 97.6% negative agreement (specificity) in symptomatic subjects. Further, in the 136 patients with high viral titers (Ct <33), and therefore most likely to transmit virus, ID NOW showed performance of 97.8% positive agreement (sensitivity).
This was great information for us, as it means that the performance of the ID Now is still excellent, and this test is still considered a strong, reliable option for COVID testing in our communities.
Understanding there is still confusion over when to test, Abbott’s Hackett continued to note, “Tests are taken at a moment in time and they detect the virus once there’s enough viral material in a person to be able to detect it.” He stated the importance in understanding no two tests are alike or perfect but that in order to fight this pandemic, “we need a combination of gold standard lab-based PCR tests and accurate, reliable rapid tests like ID NOW to help reduce risk in society and slow the spread of the virus.” If there is not enough viral material available in a presenting patient, especially an asymptomatic patient (patient without symptoms), a negative ID NOW test is less reliable than a PCR test. This further explains why a combination of both types of tests are important -especially when it comes to patients presenting without symptoms and slowing the spread of COVID-19.
It is very important to note that almost all currently FDA emergency use authorized tests are intended for symptomatic patients and not for screening (asymptomatic patients/patients without symptoms). Our providers discuss your needs with you at your visit and are doing their best to educate patients receiving the ID NOW test and what your result means. Above all else, especially if you test positive or are experiencing active symptoms, stay home and do your part to reduce the spread.
We’re providing both scheduled COVID clinic visits and scheduled COVID virtual visits daily to assist in the extremely high demand for COVID testing. Both visit types result in a trip to The Urgency Room to collect a test sample, but clinic visits include a discussion with the provider onsite, whereas virtual visits involve an online provider visit.
We hope this information is helpful in understanding why we are providing the rapid ID NOW test for our patients. Please visit our website to schedule an appointment if you wish to be tested.