The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) today announced a further $650 million investment into rapid COVID-19 diagnostics.
According to a news release, HHS will invest the $650 million from the American Rescue Plan to strengthen manufacturing capacity for rapid, point-of-care molecular COVID-19 tests and increase Americans’ access to the diagnostics.
“Access to fast, accurate, and reliable tests help keep Americans safe and healthy,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the release. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we are increasing our testing supply, investing in American manufacturers, and continuing to support these critical tools for getting the pandemic under control.”
HHS said the funds will be used to ramp up domestic manufacturing capacity and minimize reliance on imports from overseas. The agency also has an eye on sustaining long-term manufacturing of the tests throughout 2022 and supporting the purchasing of raw materials and finished tests to increase domestic supply.
Last month, HHS and the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD) awarded more than $562 million for COVID-19 test manufacturing. The funds went to a dozen U.S. companies to support the production of supplies including pipette tips, protective packaging, swabs and reagents.
HHS and DOD’s investments follow President Joe Biden’s announcements of efforts to make COVID-19 testing more available to Americans, including a $3 billion investment in rapid testing to quadruple the supply of at-home tests by December.