Trump Strikes Deal To Secure 150 Million COVID-19 Rapid Tests For Schools And Nursing Homes

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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President Donald Trump announced Thursday that his administration has struck a deal with Abbott Laboratories in order to secure 150 million rapid coronavirus tests.

The 150 million rapid coronavirus tests will cost American taxpayers a total of $750 million — $5 per test — and will be deployed into nursing homes and other high-risk communities, as well as schools, according to Politico. 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “This is a major development that will help save more lives by further protecting America’s most vulnerable and allow our country to remain open, get Americans back to work, and get kids back to school,” upon the announcement from the White House Thursday afternoon.

The statement also stressed the tests are “Made in America, for Americans.”

“These new tests exemplify President Trump’s whole-of-America approach,” McEnany’s statement continued, “which harnesses industry and innovation to ensure America leads the world in combating COVID-19.”

While slightly less reliable than the traditional COVID-19 test, rapid-developing coronavirus tests can give reliable results in just 15 minutes and do not require the use of any large lab equipment, per Politico. The Abbott rapid test is a nasal swab antigen test that employs similar technology to that of a flu test, CNN Business reported.

The results are given to a health care provider on Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag Card, which is similar in size to a credit card, according to CNN Business. The tests can be administered in point-of-care places, although it still must be performed by a healthcare provider, per Politico. Like a pregnancy test, the card will show one line for a negative test, and two lines for a positive test. (RELATED: DOJ Seeks COVID-19 Data From Cuomo, Other Governors, In Review Of Nursing Home Policies)

The test also gives tested individuals access to a free smartphone app that shows their test results and COVID-19 testing history, which could come in handy when attempting to enter public places as colder weather and flu season approaches, Politico reports.

Trump’s Food And Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of Abbott rapid tests Wednesday, per Politico. This comes in the wake of the FDA’s Monday decision to permit the use of antigen tests if the testing backlog creates barriers to health information.

The administration expressed concern over Abbott’s rapid tests in June, KHN reported. However, per new data submitted by Abbott to the FDA, the tests are more than 97% accurate, Politico reports.

Abbott Laboratories plans on ramping up production capacity in order to manufacture 50 million tests per month, according to Politico.