US invests $232 million in home testing for CoVID-19

While most countries have already started vaccinating against Covid-19, unfortunately it doesn’t look like the pandemic is letting up – so the U.S. has decided to still invest in home tests to detect the disease.

US invests 2 million in home testing for CoVID-19

The U.S. government has decided to invest $232 million to ramp up production of Covid-19 home detection tests. Australian manufacturer Ellume will supply about 8.5 million tests to the U.S. for federal use as part of the deal, and will also open a factory in the U.S. to produce 500,000 tests per day. This represents a significant increase over current yields, as at this point the company is producing about 100,000 tests per day. This comes after a December decision by the Food and Drug Administration, which granted the company emergency approval. The Ellume test costs $30, is able to analyze a swab and send the results to a smartphone app within 15 minutes, and is estimated to be 95% accurate.

What’s worth noting, however, is that this is not the only home test for Covid-19 available in the United States, although the only one available without a prescription, as two others have previously come into use, including the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, which was approved back in November. It can be used by anyone 14 years of age or older, but only at the express direction of a primary care physician and with a prescription written by him or her. The test is also certified for use in point-of-care settings, i.e., doctors’ offices, hospitals, urgent care centers and the like, where it will also be used to test people younger than 14, but then a nasal swab will have to be taken by a specialist.

So it looks like do-it-yourself tests at home are going to become more and more common and that’s to be expected as they make it much easier to verify whether someone has Covid 19 or whether it’s safe to go to work, meet up with friends or go on vacation. In the latter case, they may become part of the landscape, even at airports, especially since airlines and some countries require a negative test result to board or cross borders. Most of the tests so far require going to a special point and waiting for the result, which depending on the severity of the pandemic sometimes took several days, with home tests we can get it in a few minutes, even just being at the airport.

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