President Donald Trump plans to unveil a major expansion of rapid coronavirus testing on Thursday, according to three individuals familiar with the upcoming announcement.
Trump will announce that the administration has struck a $750 million deal to acquire 150 million tests from Abbott Laboratories, which the individuals said are set to be deployed in nursing homes, schools and other areas with populations at high risk.
Abbott received an emergency authorization from the FDA on Wednesday for the rapid test, which costs $5 and can produce results in 15 minutes without the use of any lab equipment. Abbott has said that it will be able to produce about 50 million tests per month by October.
The move would represent a significant expansion of the nation’s coronavirus testing, which has experienced frequent bottlenecks in recent months that prevented rapid turnaround of test results. The United States has tested about 22 million people in the last month.
HHS did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Trump is set to speak on his response to the coronavirus as part of his address to the Republican National Convention on Thursday evening. One person said that the president and his administration would tout that the Abbott tests were “made in America” and a domestic response to a virus that first emerged in China.
The Trump administration has come under scrutiny for its posture on coronavirus testing, including this week for White House-directed changes to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to stop promoting testing for people without symptoms. Administration officials have maintained that physicians and the CDC signed off on the change.