U.S. to Buy 8.5 Million At-Home COVID Tests

Ralph Ellis

February 02, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The Biden administration has signed a $230 million deal with Ellume, an Australian-based diagnostics company, to buy 8.5 million at-home coronavirus testing kits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Ellume test last month. Other at-home tests are available, but the Ellume test doesn't require a doctor's prescription and can deliver results by smart phone in 15 minutes.

"Ellume has been ramping up manufacturing and will ship 100,000 test kits per month to the U.S. from February through July," Andy Slavitt, the White House Covid-19 senior adviser, said during a White House briefing on Monday. "That's good but it's obviously not where we'll need to be."

The Department of Defense, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the $231.8 million contract to Ellume USA LLC, the DOD said in a news release.

Ellume currently manufactures its kits in Australia. The deal will allow Ellume to open a factory in the United States and make 19 million rapid tests each month by the end of the year, Slavitt said, with 8.5 million kits promised to the government.

The Ellume kit uses a sterile nasal swab, a processing fluid, and a testing strip that can be used at home. The testing materials connect to a smartphone that can provide results via Bluetooth in 15 minutes or less, the company says.

The kits will cost about $30 and be sold in drug stores and online, Ellume says.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an Ellume spokesperson, said the company is looking in Maryland, Virginia, California and other states for a location for its first U.S.facility.

Sources

DOD. "DOD Awards $231.8 Million Contract to Ellume USA LLC to Increase Domestic Production Capacity and Deliver COVID-19 Home Tests"

https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2488793/dod-awards-2318-million-contract-to-ellume-usa-llc-to-increase-domestic-product/

U.S. Reaches Deal With Australian Company for At-Home Covid-19 Tests

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-reaches-deal-with-australian-company-ellume-for-at-home-covid-19-tests-11612198271

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