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“There is a need for more”


Abbott Laboratories has received federal approval for two coronavirus tests in as many weeks, and the company’s mission is to develop even more diagnostic devices, CEO Miles White told CNBC on Monday.

“I must say that even if we are very satisfied with the performances that we have been able to offer here, we have launched two tests in the last two weeks, there are still more, and more is needed,” he said. he said in an interview “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday gave Abbott Labs, an Illinois-based health product manufacturer, emergency use authorization for its point-of-care test called ID NOW COVID-19, which it says , can diagnose individuals with the virus in five minutes, the fastest test available. Another Abbott molecular test, m2000 RealTime SARS-CoV-2, received emergency use authorization the previous week and the company shipped 150,000 units.

This week, Abbott is increasing production of the ID NOW nasal swab test to 50,000 units per day. Between the two tests, the company plans to manufacture a total of 5 million per month as health officials try to slow the spread of the deadly disease.

On Friday, President Donald Trump praised Abbott Labs for developing the ID NOW test. But White, who is due to retire on Tuesday, said the count would not be enough to get the job done. The United States has struggled to quickly and widely disseminate coronavirus tests.

“There are more tests to come,” he said. The company “is also putting a lot of effort … into expanding capacity because, while 50,000 a day seems like a lot, it’s not enough … and for a while we will allocate and establish priorities in high-need areas. “

“We know that fighting this virus and being able to return to a more normal world will require many tests in the right places with a quick turnaround time and, luckily, we have several formats to do it,” he said.

White was joined in the interview by chief operating officer Robert Ford. The Abbott Labs veteran will take over as CEO after White leaves. The longtime chief will stay with the company as executive chairman of the board.

Ford, who has worked for the company for more than two decades, will be the 13th CEO in more than 130 years of history and will be responsible for managing a workforce of more than 107,000 people.

Ford said Abbott has worked with the White House to prioritize the distribution of the rapid test to healthcare, police and other workers on the front lines of coronavirus response efforts.

“We are not doing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but we are testing and we want to make sure these people are safe so that they can take care of us,” he said.

Other Abbott research and development teams are also developing other test processes, including serology and antibody tests, which will be available in “a few weeks to a few months,” added White.

“These teams work 24 hours a day, as do those who brought us the ID now and those who brought automated testing to the m2000,” he said.

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