On Wednesday, the White House announced that it will buy $1 billion worth of rapid, at-home coronavirus tests to address ongoing shortages.
It will also make free testing available in more pharmacies across the country, officials at the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team announced.
The purchase will quadruple the number of tests available to Americans by December, according to Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
“In the past few months, testing has increased, particularly at-home testing, a convenient option that came to market earlier this year,” Zients said at an online event with reporters.
He noted that “in September, at the president’s direction, the federal government invested $2 billion to ensure tests are available to those who need them, and to provide manufacturers with purchase commitments that allow them to ramp up their production.”
In addition, “over the past day, we’ve also received commitments from two manufacturers — Quidel and OraSure — to further expand manufacturing and speed up their production of rapid tests, taking months off their timelines and adding tens of millions of tests per month to their production capacity,” Zients continued.
“And today we’re making another billion-dollar investment to further mobilize testing manufacturers” with a commitment to purchase an additional 180 million rapid tests over the next year; “tens of millions” of those will come to market over the next 30 days, he said.
“Thanks to the president’s actions in September, we were on track to double the supply of rapid home tests available in the market each month by early November,” he added, noting that the FDA authorized a new rapid test from ACON Laboratories on Monday, which will speed up the pace further.
“We are now on track to triple the number by early November, and then today’s billion-dollar investment … puts us on track to quadruple the amount of at-home rapid tests available for Americans by December. That means we’ll have available supply of 200 million rapid at-home tests per month starting in December.”