In this episode of 16 Minutes, we cover the recent news around the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization approval of Abbott Lab’s latest COVID-19 test, which takes 15 minutes and will cost $5. At that speed and price point — as well as the fact that it doesn’t require lab equipment at point of care — it should definitely increase testing capacity, making it a potential “game changer” in this pandemic… But does it truly democratize coronavirus testing (in an available-to-everyone-everywhere way)? How is and isn’t it like a pregnancy test, and when or how would we be able to administer it everywhere and by anyone?
To help tease apart what’s hype/ what’s real — as is the premise of this show — a16z bio general partner Vineeta Agarwala breaks it all down with host Sonal Chokshi in ~18 minutes. The conversation provides an overview of RT-PCR vs. antigen test types (and differences between “rapid” versions of both); digs into what the data does and doesn’t tell us here; and explains key concepts that everyone needs to know, including the “positive predictive value“, which has implications for widespread detection and testing. Agarwala (who is also a practicing physician) also briefly touches on practical considerations from the clinical perspective… what do we really need when the winter flu season hits?
articles cited/ related reading
“Medicine’s Uncomfortable Relationship with Math: Calculating Positive Predictive Value”, by Arjun Manrai, Gaurav Bhatia, Judith Strymish, et al, in JAMA Internal Medicine, June 2014
The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.
This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.
Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.