Biden administration will spend $1.6B to expand COVID-19 testing, sequencing

The Biden administration announced Feb. 17 three actions it's taking to expand COVID-19 testing across the country. 

First, HHS will partner with the Department of Defense to make a $650 million investment to expand testing in elementary schools and in other settings, such as homeless shelters, through new coordination hubs. HHS and the Department of Defense will establish regional coordinating centers to organize increased testing capacity and partner with laboratories across the country to collect specimens, perform the tests and report results to the relevant public health agencies for up to 25 million additional tests per month. 

"This effort will bring more testing to teachers, staff and students — an important step to support President Biden's plan to reopen schools for in-person learning," states an HHS news release. 

HHS and the Department of Defense will also make an $815 million investment to increase manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials, including filter pipette tips and injected molded plastics needed to house testing reagents. 

Third, the CDC will invest $200 million to expand genomic sequencing capabilities, including bioinformatics, reporting and modeling, to increase sequencing three-fold per week. This will help identify new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and prevent and mitigate their spread, HHS said. 

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