Feds To Ship Tens Millions of Testing Kits for Schools as Reopening Nears
As the debate over reopening schools for in-person learning rages on, there’s been a new development in regard to testing for students and teachers.
According to Fox News, the Trump administration announced Tuesday that it’s planning to distribute 150 million “rapid tests” to states where schools are reopening, starting this month.
However, not all 150 million tests will be for schools. Some of those tests will be reserved for first responders and at-risk groups.
This announcement comes days after the Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement Thursday regarding “an historic initiative” that would help speed this process along.
The Trump administration awarded a $760 million contract to Abbott Laboratories to fast-track the delivery of 150 million Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests.
Those tests are inexpensive and can yield results within 15 minutes.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency-use authorization for the test.
“This new COVID-19 antigen test is an important addition to available tests because the results can be read in minutes, right off the testing card. This means people will know if they have the virus in almost real-time,” Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a news release.
“Due to its simpler design and the large number of tests the company anticipates making in the coming months, this new antigen test is an important advancement in our fight against the pandemic,” he said.
On Tuesday, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, discussed the limitless potential of the initiative via Twitter.
To be clear @ashishkjha, the Administration partnered with Abbott, purchased 150 million rapid tests one day after FDA authorization, cut through historic red tape, in order to test nursing home/assisted living residents, the underserved, 1st responders, and teachers/students!
— ADM Brett P. Giroir (@HHS_ASH) September 1, 2020
While there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered, this could potentially be a huge step toward the widespread reopening of schools.