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FYI: COVID-19 test information, water fluoridation and more

May 1, 2021

COVID-19 test information

Information on the impact of viral mutations on COVID-19 tests is available on a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) webpage, The webpage includes background on SARS-CoV-2 viral mutations, details about specific molecular tests impacted by viral mutations and recommendations for those tests.

The FDA recommends that health care providers and clinical laboratories that use SARS-CoV-2 tests be aware of the following:

  • Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 arise regularly, and false-negative test results can occur.
  • Molecular tests that use multiple genetic targets to determine a final result are less likely to be affected by increased prevalence of genetic variants.
  • Negative results should be considered in combination with clinical observations, patient history and epidemiological information.
  • If COVID-19 is suspected after a negative result, repeat testing should be considered with a different molecular diagnostic test (with different genetic targets) that has been cleared or received emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Earlier this year, the FDA alerted health care providers about viral mutations and the potential for false-negative results on molecular SARS-CoV-2 tests ( Later, the FDA added information to the webpage on the impact of viral mutations on Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2, Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 DoD and Xpert Omni SARS-CoV-2 tests.

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Bringing fluoride to small communities

About 35% of people in the U.S. lack access to properly fluoridated water because a public water system is not available or a system does not have the resources to fluoridate water cost-effectively.

A low-cost method now is available to provide fluoridated water to about 19 million people in small communities across the U.S. The innovation is the result of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-supported Small Business Innovation Research award to a Florida-based company. The company created a tablet delivery system that can fluoridate nearly 32,000 small systems in the United States. The smaller public water systems use compressed tablets of sodium fluorosilicate to fluoridate their public water systems using a newly developed feeder system similar to the way swimming pools are chlorinated.

Intended for systems serving 50 to 10,000 people, the innovation has drawn attention of health departments across the U.S. that want to bring fluoridated water to their communities.

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