The White House has announced a new $750 million purchase of 150 million rapid-result Covid-19 tests “to be distributed across the country” as states continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the White House said it planned to scale final production of the low-cost rapid tests “to an unprecedented 50 million tests” each month.
“Today, the Trump administration is pleased to announce the purchase and production of 150 million rapid tests to be distributed across the country,” the statement read. “This is a major development that will help save more lives by further protecting America’s most vulnerable and allow our country to remain open, get Americans back to work, and get kids back to school.
The Trump administration partnered with Abbott Laboratories in the production of the 150 million raid tests, which infectious disease experts have described as a crucial step in getting control of local outbreaks and assisting in contact tracing procedures.
Many states across the country currently lack significant access to rapid tests, with many reports indicating testing labs nationwide have been burdened by the amount of incoming Covid-19 tests.
The White House celebrated the purchase, saying in its statement: “Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States is leading the world in testing and development of a wide range of reliable tests.”
President Donald Trump was set to officially announce the purchase during the final night of the Republican National Convention, when he was scheduled to appear from the White House for the last night of the mostly-virtual week-long event.
Under the new deal, the rapid-result tests would be produced and distributed in coordination with the FDA’s emergency use authorisation, according to the White House.
The purchase was in part the result of Operation Warp Speed, a federal response to the pandemic that has produced research and therapeutics surrounding the coronavirus pandemic at a historic speed.
“Made in America, for Americans, these new tests exemplify President Trump’s whole-of-America approach, which harnesses industry and innovation to ensure America leads the world n combating Covid-19,” the statement continued.
Vice President Mike Pence made similar comments during his speech at the RNC on Wednesday night, vowing that the country was on track to produce the first safe Covid-19 vaccination. However, the US has struggled to control its nationwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and has led many parts of the world in both infections and deaths. Several states across the country have meanwhile continued to battle a significant reemergence of the virus, while the administration faced criticism for its lack of a national plan to combat the pandemic.
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