FDA commissioner on coronavirus testing: 'We need to do more, no question about that'

FDA commissioner on coronavirus testing: 'We need to do more, no question about that'
© Greg Nash

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Sunday that the U.S. needs to do more coronavirus testing, adding there’s “no question about that.”

ABC’s “This Week” co-host Martha Raddatz asked Hahn why the U.S. is “still so far behind” other countries like the U.K., Germany and South Korea, who have tested millions of residents. 

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Hahn responded calling the situation “complicated” and “rapidly moving,” noting the pressure on supply chains. He said the commission has heard from people “on the ground” that in “some areas it’s very easy to get a test and in other areas, not.”

He noted White House coronavirus task force members Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump on what would prevent 2024 bid: 'I guess a bad call from a doctor' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior — CDC panel approves boosters for some, but not based on jobs Fauci: 'Worst time' for a government shutdown is in middle of pandemic MORE and Deborah Birx said Friday that the U.S. has conducted more than 2 million coronavirus tests, which he said was more than any other country.

“Now we need to do more, no question about that,” he said. 

The FDA has authorized one antibody test, that will determine whether a person has already had the virus, he said. But he said this form of testing, which is “one of the keys” of getting the country restarted, should be expected “relatively soon,” with an exact date depending on the data.

Raddatz also pressed Hahn on how Americans could potentially return to work without a nationwide testing system. The commissioner cited the geographic location, the number of tests and the number of infections as factors that will influence how testing is distributed. 

“And yes, further ramping up testing both diagnostic as well as the antibody test will really be necessary as we move beyond May and into the summer months and then into the fall.”

President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE originally suggested an Easter Sunday reopening date for the government but backtracked saying social distancing practices would continue through the end of April.

Critics have condemned the administration for a lack of available testing across the country, saying it inhibits the federal response to COVID-19. 

The U.S. has confirmed more than 530,000 cases and at least 20,608 deaths from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.