Where are Covid-19 tests manufactured?
The Biden administration has promised to purchase a billion at-home covid-19 testing kits. US manufacturers have been ramping up supply to meet that demand.
The US has performed the most covid-19 tests of any nation in the world approaching one billion. So that Americans can get quicker results, the Biden administration has said it will purchase one billion at-home covid-19 testing kits.
The second set of those tests can now be ordered online at the government’s webpage or by phone to be delivered to households via the US Postal Service. In order to meet the demand manufacturers had been ramping up production facilities across the US.
US production of covid-19 tests surged to meet demand
As the Omicron variant pushed new infections to all-time highs across the US, President Biden announced the federal government would provide a half million free at-home test kits. Although he later doubled that amount his administration was criticized for not putting more resources into providing free at-home covid-19 testing sooner. In response to questions on the matter White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that options were limited when Biden took office. However, now there are multiple companies that have attained FDA emergency use authorization.
Since the announcement, the Department of Defense has awarded contracts to five companies in order to meet President Biden’s goal of delivering the one billion free at-home covid-19 tests. The combined total is now for 398 million test kits from manufacturers Abbott, InBios International, iHealth labs, Maxim Biomedical and Roche Diagnostics.
Test manufacturers in January scaled up production at existing facilities or began work on building new locations for additional capacity. When Biden announced his plan, manufacturing capacity was struggling to meet demand. At the time, US companies were producing around 260 million units per month according to estimates by Arizona State University professor Mara Aspinall who tracks covid-19 who tracks testing supplies. She predicted that the US would surpass 350 million in February and then over 520 million by March.
Manufacturers beat those expectations reaching an estimated 535 million in February, but have slowdowned this month as the Omicron surge has faded.
Americans can now order there second round of free tests
The US postal Service has already shipped more than 270 million free at-home covid-19 test kits to 68 million American households. Each household is eligible for two sets of four test kits, the second of which can now be claimed. However, demand for tests has waned as case numbers have fallen and tests that were once scarce are now widely available.
The White House is committed to maintaining the testing infrastructure so that it doesn’t go idle in the event a new variant causes another surge. Dr Tom Inglesby, the White House’s testing coordinator told the New York Times that the administration has asked Congress for $22.5 billion to prepare for possible outbreaks. The federal government will continue to acquire and stockpile more tests to meet the president’s commitment. However, they may not all be put into the Postal Service program according to Dr Inglesby.