Federal Deal Signed for At-Home Covid Test Manufacturing

President Biden’s administration plans to make it easier for Americans to get a Covid-19 test through a $231.8 million deal with an Australian company for at-home rapid tests, according to NPR. The tests will be manufactured by Ellume and available without a prescription.

“We want to help the U.S. reopen as safely and as quickly as possible,” Sean Parsons, CEO at Ellume, said, according to Bloomberg. “We are prioritizing our partnership with the U.S. government to mobilize tests quickly.”

The company aims to deliver 8.5 million at-home tests this year. They expect to produce 100,000 Covid-19 tests a day at the first Ellume factory in the U.S. Ellume also plans to increase its worldwide production to at least half a million per day by the end of the year.

The test costs $30, and results are sent to a corresponding app in approximately 15 minutes. It is not yet available to U.S. consumers.

Some health experts are concerned about the price. A lower price, closer to $5, would be optimal and more likely to be widely used, according to Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard University epidemiologist.

The FDA granted emergency clearance in December to Ellume for over-the-counter use. The test uses a nasal swab and can be self-administered. It works by identifying proteins on the surface.