The Trump Administration, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of and Defense, have awarded a contract for $760 million to Abbott for the delivery of 150 million rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
Testing will be potentially deployed to schools and to assist with serving special needs populations, HHS said.
The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests recently received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
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The tests are designed to deliver results in 15 minutes or less.
The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card test uses nasal swabs and is simple to use and inexpensive. It can be easily employed by medical personnel or trained operators in certain nonclinical environments operating through a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate, HHS said.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Rapid POC testing will help lower the risk of COVID-19 spread, HHS said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week released new guidance on testing that said no COVID-19 test is necessary for individuals who are asymptomatic, even if they have come in contact with an infected person.
Previous CDC guidance urged testing for anyone who had contact with an infected individual. CDC Director Robert Redfield has tried to clarify the guidance by saying those who want to be tested can be tested, but they don't necessarily need to be tested.
THE LARGER TREND
Abbott has the capability to scale up to meet the demand for antigen testing across the country, and it is the only known source that can immediately provide the required items to meet urgent needs, HHS said.
The system uses a nasopharyngeal swab and associated media placed on a strip that can detect COVID-19 and other viruses.
ON THE RECORD
"The introduction of Abbott's antigen test is another incredibly valuable result of President Trump's all-of-America approach to constructing our world-leading COVID-19 testing capacity," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "By strategically distributing 150 million of these tests to where they're needed most, we can track the virus like never before and protect millions of Americans at risk in especially vulnerable situations."
"Over the past months, our collaboration with Abbott has exemplified the Administration's whole-of-society approach to this pandemic, fully leveraging America's industry and innovative spirit," said Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for Health. "Under President Trump's leadership we have worked closely with the private sector to stimulate testing innovations such as the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 test. This is no small achievement and is of an unprecedented scale."
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