The Trump Administration announced a national plan to distribute 150 million Abbott rapid point-of-care coronavirus tests in the coming weeks to assist Governors’ efforts to safely reopen their states and schools.
Explaining its details at a White House news conference, President Donald Trump said 50 million tests will go to protect the most vulnerable communities, and 100 million tests will be given to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately.
This includes 18 million for nursing homes; 15 million for assisted living facilities; 10 million for home, health, and hospice care agencies; and nearly 1 million for historically black colleges, universities and tribal nation colleges.
6.5 million tests will be shipped to governors this week.
Trump claimed that over the last eight weeks, hospitalizations due to COVID infection have declined by 48 percent, and have reached the lowest point since March. Due to advances in treatment, the fatality rate has fallen 85 percent since April, he added.
Health and Human Services Department said the Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card rapid test is a unique testing option to provide support to K-12 teachers and students, higher education, critical infrastructure, first responders, and other priorities as governors deem fit.
The BinaxNOW rapid test – the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized antigen rapid point-of-care test that does not require an instrument – is easy to use, will produce COVID-19 test results in 15 minutes, and costs $5.
Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, said testing may be performed by laboratories with a clear certificate of waiver. “This is not a home test. But during the health emergency, Seema Verma and CMS permits laboratories to extend their certificate to operate in temporary sites, like schools or churches or parking lots,” he added.
The Federal government purchased Abbott BinaxNOW diagnostic tests on August 27 after FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to ensure they would be expeditiously distributed to vulnerable populations as quickly as possible. Significantly, the nation’s governors will not have to compete for the initial BinaxNOW shipments, or take time to set up purchasing contracts.
Abbott Diagnostics said it plans to make up to 48 million tests available monthly in the U.S. in the coming weeks.
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