The New Jersey-based company, also known as BD, said a “small number” of nursing homes are reporting multiple false-positive COVID-19 tests from its Veritor Plus machine, which can deliver results in 15 minutes.
Roughly a dozen sites have experienced a “significant number” of the incorrect results, while several others have only seen one or two, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the problem Tuesday.
“Following our standard quality management system processes, upon learning of these reports, BD immediately contacted the sites, and we are actively investigating the situation to obtain additional details,” BD spokesman Troy Kirkpatrick told The Post in an email.
False positives — which indicate a person has the deadly coronavirus when they actually don’t — are particularly dangerous in nursing homes because they could lead healthy patients to be placed in areas with infected people, according to the Journal.
For example, eight residents and three workers at Dallas’s Presbyterian Village North nursing home were moved to a unit for people with the deadly virus after they tested positive on a BD device in early September, the Journal reported. But all of their results from a more precise lab-based test came back negative and they were taken out of the unit, according to the paper.
The US Department of Health and Human Services is also keeping an eye on the situation, the Journal reported. The agency said last month that it would ship rapid testing machines from both BD and Quidel Corporation to about 14,000 nursing homes.
The reported false positives don’t reflect the results from BD’s clinical studies conducted with the Veritor Plus system, which showed the machine correctly generated negative results for 98 to 100 percent of people who didn’t have the virus, according to Kirkpatrick.
“BD takes its responsibility very seriously under our agreement with HHS to provide more than 11,000 nursing homes with high-quality and reliable tests to support their efforts to protect residents and staff from COVID-19,” he said.
COVID-19 puts nursing home residents at high risk because they live together and often have underlying medical conditions, health officials say. Nursing homes across the country had reported more than 216,000 coronavirus cases and 53,196 deaths as of Aug. 30, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
BD shares were down 1.4 percent at $232.56 as of 10:21 a.m. Tuesday.
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