The White House will spend an additional $ 1 billion on rapid COVID tests at home: gunshots

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The Biden government has announced a new investment in COVID testing at home. Here is an Abbott BinaxNow review.

Ted S. Warren / AP


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Ted S. Warren / AP


The Biden government has announced a new investment in COVID testing at home. Here is an Abbott BinaxNow review.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The White House is providing an additional $ 1 billion to purchase millions of rapid home tests for COVID-19 in response to the ongoing national shortage of these tests. The announcement was made by the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients at a briefing On Wednesday.

The money follows a $ 2 billion investment in September to provide rapid tests for community health centers, boards and schools.

These are over-the-counter swab tests that can be bought at the pharmacy and take home. They test for antigens or proteins on the surface of the virus and can give fairly reliable results within 15 minutes, especially on people who are symptomatic.

A shortage of test kits is reported across the country due to demand from parents buying the kits for children who have returned to the classroom and staff returning to work.

Zients said Wednesday’s action will now enable the country to quadruple the number of rapid tests available over the next few months: “We will have 200 million rapid home tests available per month by December.”

On Monday did the Food and Drug Administration authorized Flowflex, another rapid antigen test from ACON laboratories – a move that will significantly increase the availability of home tests, according to the agency. It is the eighth test of its kind made available in the US and the cheapest, according to Zients.

He said the government anticipated the major purchases of tests and that the increase in production would lower the overall test price.

Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard epidemiologist who has advocated widespread rapid home testing, says he’s glad to see the Biden government invest in testing, “but it’s not enough and it’s not fast enough. America is so far behind our comparison countries. ”

Citing programs in Germany and the UK where home tests are cheap and ubiquitous, Mina says he wants the US to get to the point where rapid home tests are less than $ 1 and are hidden in medicine cabinets everywhere “exactly like we have band-aids. ”

In the briefing on Wednesday, Zients emphasized that there are many free testing options through community health centers and other testing sites – and that insurance covers these testing options. The administration has ensured that 20,000 more pharmacies offer COVID-19 testing, in addition to the existing free test locations in over 10,000 locations across the country. Overall, expanding these various testing efforts will bring U.S. testing capacity to half a billion tests per month by December, says Zients.

Rapid tests at home make it easier for people to check themselves for coronavirus infections – but it’s harder for health officials to track the spread of the virus because the results generally don’t need to be reported or verified, Mina says. In addition to more testing, he warns that there should be a clear strategy for monitoring test results.

“I think we need to focus on how we give businesses, schools and government the tools to use them properly,” he says, or “we will find that they are being watered down”. in terms of their actual effectiveness “in preventing infected people from interacting with others.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced Tuesday that Ellume recalled nearly 200,000 home test kits for having a higher than expected rate of false positive tests.

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Reference: www.npr.org

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