As first reported by Politico before being confirmed by other outlets, a White House official said that Trump will announce the deal tonight, using his speech at the Republican National Convention to confirm the news.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the reports in a news release late Thursday. Trump spoke for more than an hour at the RNC but did not make an announcement related to the deal with Abbott.
“This is a major development that will help our country to remain open, get Americans back to work, and kids back to school,” White House communications director Alyssa Farah said in a statement to CNBC. “The Trump Administration is proud to partner with Abbott Labs to make this purchase possible to help the American people.”
“The introduction of Abbott’s antigen test is another incredibly valuable result of President Trump’s all-of-America approach to constructing our world-leading COVID-19 testing capacity,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “By strategically distributing 150 million of these tests to where they’re needed most, we can track the virus like never before and protect millions of Americans at risk in especially vulnerable situations.”
HHS said the government will pay a total of $760 million for the tests.
Abbott announced yesterday that it received FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) for its BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card — a speedy antigen test for the virus that can be directly read off the testing card. The test is designed to display a result 15 minutes following a nasal swab: one line for a negative result and two for a positive result.
The test will be accompanied by a mobile app called Navica that allows people who test negative to display a temporary digital health pass that includes the date of the test result. The health pass gets renewed every time they test again and come up negative.
As of yesterday’s authorization announcement, Abbott said it plans to ship tens of millions of tests in September, ramping to 50 million tests a month at the start of October. They’ll sell for $5 apiece.
Shares of ABT were up 7.9% at $111.29 per share at market close and were up 0.2% at $111.54 per share after hours.
This article has been updated with comments from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.