For everyone who was excited about the potential of a business called Theranos, which thrilled everyone with its plans for a revolutionary blood test that could provide detailed information in hours just with the prick of a finger, you are probably about to be let down.
It’s unlikely that the quick operation can deliver on all the promises it made. The company is currently valued at an impressive $10 billion—not bad for anyone, let alone its young founder Elizabeth Holmes, who was 19 when she started the company. Theranos promised to deliver technology that could run blood tests just with a small finger prick rather than a needle in the arm, but the legitimacy of these claims is quickly dropping.
Some Theranos employees were already uncertain about how accurate the test machine was, and a new study from the Wall Street Journal calls Theranos’s methods further into question. A former Theranos employee said that the company did not report test results that called the precision of the test machine, Edison, into question, providing only the results that made the company and the technology look good.
The company says it has abided by all California federal laws and has not lied about its own achievements, but the Edison machine is being used for only 15 kinds of tests, while other tests are still being performed in traditional ways, leading to a small pool of usable data.
Additionally, the Journal notes that Theranos deleted a sentence on its site that said, “Many of our tests require only a few drops of blood,” as well as a reference to the amount of blood collected per sample.
There is still a lot we don’t know about the company and its processes, including whether or not they’re even effective. The company has received approval for one test and has certifications to open lab testing facilities; the other 240 tests the company would like to do are still pending approval.
It is difficult to assess the quality and efficacy of the simple testing method without full disclosure of Theranos’s materials. Much remains to be seen, but it’s likely that Theranos’s methods are too good to be true.