The White House will announce Wednesday that the nation’s supply of at-home Covid-19 tests is on track to triple by early November, driven by recent government investments and the FDA’s emergency authorization of a test from ACON Laboratories.
The Biden administration projects that even more tests should be available by the end of the year. A White House official told POLITICO’s David Lim the administration is purchasing another $1 billion of at-home tests that will contribute to a quadrupling of the market to 200 million tests per month in December.
The new investment builds on $2 billion the administration is using to boost production of a number of different Covid-19 tests from manufacturers including Abbott, OraSure Technologies, Quidel and Intrivo. It comes after surging demand driven by the Delta variant strained the nation’s supply of rapid at-home tests. In recent weeks, many retail pharmacies have placed limits on the number customers can buy.
More testing sites: The administration is also working to double the number of pharmacies participating in the government’s free testing program — which is expected to surpass 10,000 stores in the coming weeks — to 20,000 locations.
The White House ultimately hopes to have 30,000 free testing sites running nationwide, including community-based testing locations.
Home testing woes: The White House announcement comes a day after FDA cautioned that certain lots of Ellume’s at-home test is prone to potential false positive results due to a manufacturing issue.
The issue affected about 427,000 of Ellume’s tests, out of the 3.5 million the company has shipped to the U.S. About 195,000 of the impacted tests have not been used, according to a spokesperson for the company.
What’s next: The administration argues the government’s investments will expand access to Covid-19 testing and drive down prices.
“There will not just be more tests on the market, but we expect much more affordable tests on the market,” the White House official said.