The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stopped the COVID-19 testing program in Seattle backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, saying the scheme needs to be reviewed as the U.S. ramps up its drive to battle the pandemic using tests and a vaccine that the White House said would be ready by year end.

In a New York Times report by Mike Baker filed early on Monday (May 18, 2020), revealed that the program involved sending home test kits to both healthy and sick people in the hope of conducting the kind of widespread monitoring that could help communities safely reopen from lockdowns.

Baker said researchers and public health authorities already had tested thousands of samples, finding dozens of previously undetected cases and proving that the program, a partnership between research groups and the Seattle and King County public health department and authorized by the state, was effective.

“Please discontinue patient testing and return of diagnostic results to patients until proper authorization is obtained,” the FDA wrote in a memo. The delay is the latest evidence of how a splintered national effort to develop, distribute and ramp up testing has left federal regulators struggling to keep up. #coronavirusimpact #COVID19