The White House announced a deal Thursday with Abbott Laboratories to produce 150 million rapid coronavirus tests that will allow users to obtain results in 15 minutes from a small card, according to a report in The Washington Post.
“This is a major development that will help our country to remain open, get Americans back to work, and kids back to school!” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted late Thursday afternoon.
The move is the federal government’s biggest step into testing for the virus that has killed more than 177,000 Americans and infected more than 5.8 million. Almost since the pandemic arrived on U.S. shores in January, Trump has insisted that testing was mainly the province of state and local authorities.
It comes five months after Trump and top health officials said they would turn to private pharmaceutical companies to develop point-of-care tests, with the Food and Drug Administration working, in particular, with Abbott Labs.
“We want as much rapid testing as we can get,” said Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington and an infectious-disease expert. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
Bergstrom said a key question will be how the administration distributes the tests and ensures they reach the places where they are needed most.
Read more from The Washington Post.