U.S. to invest another $1 bln in rapid COVID-19 tests – Reuters

A used coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rapid test with negative result is pictured during pandemic lockdown, in Berlin, Germany, March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

Oct 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. government is committing to purchase an additional 180 million rapid COVID-19 tests for $1 billion, adding to the $2 billion test buying plan it announced in September, a top U.S. health official said on Wednesday.

The combined purchases will help quadruple the United States’ test output by December to around 200 million tests per month, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said during a press call.

The government will also double the number of pharmacies it partners with to provide free COVID-19 tests to 20,000 pharmacies, Zients added.

The U.S. government agreed in September to purchase $2 billion worth of rapid COVID-19 tests from Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) and Celltrion Inc (068270.KS) to ship to nursing homes and other high risk populations as part of President Joe Biden’s plans to increase vaccinations and tests. read more

The U.S. government also has agreements to purchase tests from other manufacturers, including Quidel Corp. (QDEL.O), OraSure Technologies, and Intrivo.

Earlier this week, U.S. regulators authorized another rapid test from Acon Technologies that can be taken at home. Zients said the test will retail for around $10 per test.

Reporting by Carl O’Donnell; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis

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