The Trump administration announced Thursday a $750 million deal with Abbott Laboratories to buy at least 150 million of the company’s new rapid-results coronavirus testing kits.
The new tests, which costs just $5 per kit and can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes, are being hailed as a potential game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the test, called BinaxNOW, making it the first rapid test that can be administered and deliver results without requiring any lab equipment, according to CBS News. The test is roughly the size of a credit card and is based on the same technology used to test for infections like the flu and strep throat, the outlet noted.
In a press release about the test, Abbott said, “in data submitted to the FDA from a clinical study conducted by Abbott with several leading U.S. research universities, the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card demonstrated sensitivity of 97.1% (positive percent agreement) and specificity of 98.5% (negative percent agreement) in patients suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider within the first seven days of symptom onset.”
The Trump administration hopes that the new test will expedite the country’s reopening process, allowing Americans to get back to work and children to get back to school.
? President @realDonaldTrump has announced the purchase and production of 150 million rapid tests.
This is a majo… https://t.co/BUczaUuUDy
— Kayleigh McEnany (@Kayleigh McEnany)1598559381.0
Abbott added in the press release that it is planning to ship tens of millions of tests in September and is ramping up production in order to produce at least 50 million a month by October.
Along with the test, Abbott is also planning to launch a complementary mobile app called NAVICA that will allow people who test negative to display a temporary “digital health pass” showing that they do not have the virus.
“We intentionally designed the BinaxNOW test and NAVICA app so we could offer a comprehensive testing solution to help Americans feel more confident about their health and lives,” president and CEO of the company Robert B. Ford said. “BinaxNOW and the NAVICA app give us an affordable, easy-to-use, scalable test, and a complementary digital health tool to help us have a bit more normalcy in our daily lives.”
“While BinaxNOW is the hardware that makes knowing your COVID-19 status possible, the NAVICA app is the digital network that allows people to share that information with those who need to know,” Ford added. “We’re taking our know-how from our digitally-connected medical devices and applying it to our diagnostics at a time when people expect their health information to be digital and readily accessible.”