Abbott’s fast COVID test poses safety issues, lab workers say

Lab personnel say worries are mounting over the safety of a rapid coronavirus test by Abbott Laboratories that President Donald Trump has repeatedly lauded ― particularly, the risk of infection to those handling it. Trump and federal health officials have promoted the ease with which the Abbott test can be given to patients, whether at a drive-thru site or a doctor’s office. Another selling point: The test could “save personal protective equipment (PPE),” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet medical workers say that there’s a serious danger in the test’s design, one that would require much more protection — not less ― for those who administer it. Running a test involves swabbing a potentially infected person’s nasal passage and swirling the specimen in an open container with liquid chemicals, raising the potential of releasing the highly contagious virus into the air.