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US signs $232m deal to provide home-based Covid-19 tests

The deal aims to increase production five times

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 2, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Posted: Feb 2, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago

People wearing facemasks carry shopping bags as they walk near Herald Square in New York City. Photo: AFP FILE

The US government and Australian digital diagnostics firm, Ellume, have signed a $232 million deal to set up production facilities capable of producing 500,000 at-home Covid-19 tests a day, the Bloomberg reported.

The single-use kit analyzes a sample collected by the user and delivers the results to a smartphone within 15 minutes. The test got the green light from the US Food and Drug Authority in December 2020.

Ellume said in a statement that its contract with the US Department of Defense will pay for the manufacturing facility on US soil.

In October 2020, the US National Institutes of Health gave the company $30 million to support clinical testing and manufacturing of its kit.

“Making easier-to-use tests available to every American is a high priority with obvious benefits,” the Bloomberg quoted Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House’s Covid-19 effort, as saying.

The Ellume deal provides an early look at how President Joe Biden plans to expand Covid-19 testing, which has long been a problem in the US.

Efforts in this regard are likely to encounter the same barriers as the Trump administration faced because increasing the test manufacturing can take months to years.

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