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Gov. Mike DeWine calls for federal help with testing materials

Mike DeWine
Posted at 1:33 PM, Apr 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 23:29:15-04

COLUMBUS — The governor of Ohio is calling on the federal government to help provide crucial materials that would allow a dramatic increase in testing for coronavirus in his state.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Ohio hospitals doing the testing lack needed chemicals known as reagents.

He said help from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would allow him to "probably double, maybe even triple testing in Ohio virtually overnight."

A local clinician said that could happen if the FDA approves new testing procedures.

"I do think the doubling or tripling is a reality," said Dr. Christine Schmotzer. "I think with more companies able to ramp up their production to a higher level, I think we could achieve the types of numbers that the governor is stating."

Schmotzer is the Chief of Clinical Pathology at University Hospitals.

She stressed that the need for testing should not compromise the accuracy of the results.

"I think the risk is that a bad test can be worse than no test at all," she said. "And that's what we really want to avoid."

DeWine, a Republican, referred to his having sought help several weeks ago with an issue involving sterilization of masks, and he said President Trump "got that done.

On March 29, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization Notice. The notice allowed for new tests to be produced and approved faster.

"Laboratory tests are complex. And it's an art and a science to making sure that they are accurate and are fast," Schmotzer said. "Typically it would take a manufacturer...more than a year to bring a new test to market. And we have hospital labs and companies that have brought them together in a matter of weeks or a matter of months, which is very fast."

On Sunday afternoon, DeWine tweeted he spoke with the FDA. His office has not released details of the call.

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