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Biden Administration Invests $1B on At-Home Rapid COVID Tests

It’s about to get faster, easier and cheaper to get an at-home Covid-19 test, the Biden administration says. The administration is set to boost Covid-19 testing in the United States by announcing an additional investment in at-home rapid tests.

Last month, President Joe Biden announced his administration would invest $2 billion in rapid testing for community health centers, food banks, and schools. The President also announced at that time that retailers including Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger will sell at-home rapid test kits at cost for the next three months.

There are several types of diagnostic tests, including antigen tests, which are generally faster and more affordable, and can be performed alone at home or with a virtual aide, or may be administered by a doctor or pharmacist. The “gold standard” of Covid-19 tests are rt-PCR tests, a type of nucleic acid amplification test, which is highly accurate and detects genetic material from the virus.

But demand has outpaced supply for those tests so far, with shelves empty across the country. The administration is seeking to quickly ramp up that supply. White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Wednesday a $1 billion investment, which will go toward purchasing rapid at-home Covid-19 tests to put on the market. The announcement also comes just days after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Flowflex, an at-home antigen test from ACON laboratories, which will accelerate the pace of rapid tests hitting the shelves.

While the US was previously on track to double the supply of rapid at-home tests available on the market each month by early November, Zients said the authorization of the ACON laboratories test “accelerates this pace and we are now on track to triple the number by early November.” The new commitments by manufacturers, he said, “puts us on track to quadruple the amount of at-home rapid tests available for Americans by December.”

“This means companies will be able to expand production of tests even further based on the United States government’s commitment to procuring an additional 180 million rapid tests over the course of the next year, with tens of millions more tests coming to market over the course of the next 30 days,” Zients said.

 



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