Infectious Disease

The U.S. is spending $ 230 million on COVID-19 over-the-counter take a look at kits

February 01, 2021

1 min read

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Press conference.

Disclosure:
Slavitt does not report any relevant financial information.

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The U.S. government will spend $ 230 million to scale up manufacturing of the first COVID-19 over-the-counter test kit that can deliver results in 15 minutes and is approved for use by people 2 years and older, a White House official said.

The test kit from the Australian manufacturer Ellume was approved for use by the FDA in December. This reported that 96% of the positive and 100% of the negative samples in people with COVID-19 symptoms were correctly identified. The results are reported via a mobile phone.

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“Making tests easy to use for every American is a high priority with obvious benefits.” Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, said during a news conference Monday.

From February to July, Ellume was scheduled to ship 100,000 test kits per month to the US. “That’s good, but it’s obviously not where we need to be,” said Slavitt.

The $ 230 million new allocation for Ellume will “scale the manufacturing base and capacity” to enable the company to produce more than 19 million test kits per month by the end of this year, Slavitt said. Of these, the US government is guaranteed 8.5 million kits.

“The ability to quickly test for traces of contact and quarantine is a lynchpin of our national strategy and will be an integral part of keeping the virus alive and curbing its spread in the community,” said Slavitt.

The test, which costs about $ 30, uses nasal swabs in the center of the turbine, which are less invasive than nasopharyngeal swabs, which have been used in many tests. The swab is inserted into a digital analyzer supplied with the test kits, which transmits the results to an app on the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth in around 15 minutes.

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Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Amesh A. Adalja

The availability of over-the-counter testing at home is a significant advancement that will lead us to a paradigm where people can be tested daily or bi-weekly and know their status. This is very important in helping people calculate better risk and is long overdue. The key to inclusion will be bringing the cost down to less than $ 10.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Senior Scholar

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety

Disclosure: Adalja does not report any relevant financial information.

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