The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will invest $650 million from the American Rescue Plan to strengthen manufacturing capacity for quick, high-quality diagnostic testing through rapid point-of-care molecular tests and increase Americans’ access to them.
As at-home testing increases, the need for follow-up testing in healthcare settings will likely grow. For example, if someone buys an over-the-counter rapid antigen test at their local pharmacy to take at home and tests positive, they may seek out a healthcare provider who would conduct another test to confirm that result. This new investment will help ensure tests like these are readily available across the country and can provide results quickly, according to a press release from HHS.
Hospitals, urgent care centers, pharmacies and other community healthcare settings use rapid molecular tests to diagnose COVID-19, screen patients before surgery without unnecessary delays, identify people who may benefit from COVID-19 therapies, and confirm at-home test results.
To support access to this type of diagnostic testing, HHS will use these funds to ramp up U.S. domestic manufacturing capacity. By strengthening our ability to produce these tests in the United States, HHS officials say, we will minimize our reliance on imports from overseas, and sustain robust long-term manufacturing throughout 2022. The funding will also support purchasing raw materials and finished tests to increase our domestic supply of diagnostic tests.