If the United States is going to fix its problematic system of diagnostic testing for covid-19, it needs to invest $75 billion, according to a diverse committee of experts created by the Rockefeller Foundation, reports STAT News.
“America faces an impending disaster,” the foundation’s panel warns in a 55-page report released Thursday. “The extraordinary scale of the Covid-19 crisis is evident in the growing deaths and economic losses the pandemic has wrought in every state.” The report adds: “This terrifying tragedy was not and is not inevitable.” The report, which includes among its authors several former commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration and a who’s who of researchers in pandemic preparedness and diagnostic testing, suggests several steps for improving the U.S. response, including a dramatic ramp-up in different types of tests. The Rockefeller Foundation is also committing $100 million to the global coronavirus response. The U.S. will need at least 5 million PCR tests a week, with results returned much faster than they are currently, said Michael Pellini, a venture capitalist at Section 32 and a report co-author. For the antigen tests, there will need to be upward of 30 million, which means they will need to be inexpensive — less than $10 a test, potentially substantially less. “There has been no plan and there is no plan, and that is the danger,” said Pellini. “No country is perfect, but the ones that have done well, some exceptionally well, all have plans.”
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