At-home COVID-19 test demand surging amid delta spread, return to school

Demand for at-home COVID-19 tests has risen significantly in recent weeks as virus cases surge and people return to school and work, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug 26. 

Test makers are working to boost production to meet demand. Abbott told the Journal it expects its supply of at-home tests to be limited for the next few weeks as it hires more workers and restarts manufacturing lines it had slowed earlier in the summer as testing demand fell.

The availability of Abbott's BinaxNOW at-home test on Amazon has been spotty, the Journal reported, as has an at-home test made by Quidel. Ellume's and Lucira's at-home tests were out of stock as of Aug. 25. 

Ellume, based in Australia, told the Journal it's working to begin 24-hour production of its test and is opening a manufacturing facility in the U.S. Quidel said it's working closely with retailers to make sure it meets demand, and Lucira told the Journal it's working on boosting its production. 

"It's difficult to scale up on a dime, but we're doing so again, just as we did last year," an Abbott spokesperson told the Journal.

At-home COVID-19 tests first became available in stores this spring, and public health experts told the Journal they have been an underutilized tool in the U.S. fight against the pandemic. Some infectious disease epidemiologists told the Journal the at-home antigen tests could be particularly useful for tracking COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant, which appears to cause people to become infectious sooner and shed more virus particles than other variants. 

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