But shortages like those with the supply of swabs now threaten that broader testing effort. Premier, which buys medical supplies on behalf of many U.S. hospitals, said its members were also encountering problems.
“Our hospitals are eager to do their part to help expand access to testing, but are struggling to do so absent necessary testing supplies,” said Soumi Saha, the senior director of advocacy at Premier. She said that the company requested additional information from the F.D.A. about how to address the swab shortage days ago, but has not heard back.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement, “We have heard concerns from labs who have questions about the availability of certain supplies. We are updating frequently asked questions for labs and test developers, providing information on alternative sources of reagents, extraction kits, swabs and more.” The agency said it also set up a toll-free line, 1-888-INFO-FDA, to help labs with questions about approvals or supplies.