Dr. Nicole Saphier told Breitbart News Daily on Friday morning that the reason the U.S. had rejected coronavirus test kits from abroad is that they had a 48% false negative rate, meaning sick people would believe, falsely, they were fine.
Saphier is a former microbiologist who appears frequently on Fox News as a contributor. She is also the author of Make America Healthy Again: How Bad Behavior and Big Government Caused a Trillion-Dollar Crisis.
Saphier generally praised the U.S. response to coronavirus, but said that “the one thing” that was “unacceptable” was the lack of testing kits, noting that the private sector had not been harnessed.
She noted that President Donald Trump had acted early by imposing a travel ban on China. “That was the right thing to do,” she said.
“What didn’t happen was the mass testing of people in the United States,” she added. “And a part of this was the United States rejected some of these testing kits from elsewhere, and that is because the United States placed high standards on what we use in our health care system. Things have to go through FDA approval.
“Although President Trump has lifted many of these restrictions, it is still a process. We want to make sure things are safe, or they’re accurate. And the truth is, the testing kits being used in China — they were reporting up to a 48% false negative rate. So if you got a negative test result, that didn’t actually mean that they didn’t have the virus.”
The U.S., she noted, developed its own test, but was also “found to be faulty” once it was distributed.
“This is not so simple as just a yes-or-no answer … it’s very complicated,” she said, noting that some of the criticism was “a little unfair.”
She said, given the urgency, that the U.S. should have used even faulty tests at the start, because they would at least have caught some of the positive cases.
Dr. Saphier noted that South Korea had been successful at testing because of mass production of testing kits by private biotech companies.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.