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At-home and over-the-counter: U.S. strikes deal for COVID-19 rapid test kit

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: U.S. strikes $230M deal for at-home rapid COVID-19 test' Coronavirus: U.S. strikes $230M deal for at-home rapid COVID-19 test
WATCH: U.S. strikes $230M deal for at-home rapid COVID-19 test – Feb 1, 2021

 

White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt says the government awarded a $231-million contract to scale up production of a COVID-19 home test recently authorized by U.S. regulators.

For months, health experts have stressed the need for fast, widespread home testing so that people can screen themselves and avoid contact with others if they have an infection. But the vast majority of tests still require a nasal swab performed by a health worker that must be processed at high-tech laboratories.

Click to play video 'The push to expand the use of rapid COVID-19 testing' The push to expand the use of rapid COVID-19 testing
The push to expand the use of rapid COVID-19 testing – Jan 15, 2021

Read more: Experts say at-home coronavirus tests critical to fight Canada's 2nd wave

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The test kit from Australian manufacturer Ellume allows users to swab themselves at home and check their status in about 20 minutes. It’s one of only three tests that consumers can use themselves, and the only one available without a doctor’s prescription. It received FDA approval — Emergency Use Authorization — back in December.

Ellume said Monday it would use the contract to construct a U.S. manufacturing plant and deliver 8.5 million tests for federal use. It did not specify a timeframe for delivery.

Click to play video 'Where is Canada at with approving at-home COVID-19 test kits?' Where is Canada at with approving at-home COVID-19 test kits?
Where is Canada at with approving at-home COVID-19 test kits? – Nov 18, 2020

Health Canada has approved several rapid testing methods, but only for use by a healthcare professional for point-of-care testing. To date, Health Canada has not authorized a self-administered, or “at-home,” rapid test.

— with a Global News file