President Donald Trump has dismissed concerns about a rapid coronavirus test on which the White House has been relying to ensure his safety, despite new data suggesting the test may return a high share of false negatives.
Mr Trump expressed his confidence in the test from Abbott Laboratories after a preliminary study by New York University researchers reported problems with it. Mr Trump and his deputies have promoted the 15-minute test as a "game changer" and have been using it for weeks now to try to keep the White House complex safe.
The Food and Drug Administration says it is investigating preliminary data suggesting the Abbott test can miss a large number of Covid-19 cases, falsely clearing infected patients.
"Abbott is a great test; it's a very quick test," Mr Trump said at a White House event to highlight his administration's efforts to develop a vaccine for the virus. "And it can always be very rapidly double-checked."
The rapid swab is used daily at the White House to test Mr Trump, key members of his staff, as well as any visitor to the White House complex who comes in close proximity to the president or Vice-President Mike Pence. The tests were also used to justify most White House staffers' decisions not to wear masks until they were ordered to do so earlier this week.
"We've got to get to the bottom of it, but we still have confidence in the test or we wouldn't have it on the market," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
White House officials yesterday continued using the Abbot ID Now test. Reporters at the White House underwent the test before Mr Trump's event in the Rose Garden.
The president noted that the administration officials and staff around him, not all of whom were wearing masks, also had undergone testing yesterday.