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$231.8 Million Deal Boosts 15-Minute At-Home COVID-19 Test Production

The Biden administration has closed a $231.8 million deal with Ellume USA to step up production of its 15-minute, no prescription, at-home COVID-19 test, according to a Monday (Feb. 1) Department of Defense news release.

Within 15 minutes of receiving a sample, Ellume’s test can send results to a smartphone. Ellume is expecting to deliver 8.5 million at-home tests in 2021, according to the Department of Defense. 

With this expansion effort, it’s expected that Ellume will be able to increase production by 640,000 tests per day by December 2021, up from the current rate of 100,000. 

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

The Brisbane, Australia-based test-maker was given emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December after it showed 96 percent accuracy in a U.S. clinical study. The at-home isn’t yet available in the U.S., a spokeswoman told Bloomberg. 

“Making easier-to-use tests available to every American is a high priority with obvious benefits,” Andy Slavitt, White House COVID-19 adviser, said at a briefing Monday, per Bloomberg.

He added that manufacturing more tests should bring down costs, and by scaling production, “we will have tens of millions of these tests out there.” 

Ellume was awarded $30 million from the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics program to increase its manufacturing capacity, and plans to open its firs U.S. factory, the news outlet reported.

A January PYMNTS series, Mapping Digital-First Consumers’ Return to the Physical World, digs into COVID vaccine correlations in its “Why Digital-First Behaviors Are Here to Stay” edition.

The Biden administration said last week it was looking to increase the coronavirus vaccine effort, with plans to buy an additional 200 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna, which should be enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans. 

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