US awards Abbott $760M contract for rapid COVID-19 tests

A day after Abbott received emergency FDA approval of its 15-minute COVID-19 test, HHS has awarded it a $760 million contract to produce 150 million tests, the department said this week. 

HHS said the tests, authorized Aug. 26, may be deployed to schools and other "special needs" populations. 

Healthcare providers using Abbott's test will swab a patient's nose, transfer the sample to a test card and wait 15 minutes to read the results directly from the card. 

"This means people will know if they have the virus in almost real time. Due to its simpler design and the large number of tests the company anticipates making in the coming months, this new antigen test is an important advancement in our fight against the pandemic," Jeff Shuren, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a news release.

Abbott said it plans to make up to 50 million tests per month starting in October. 

Read HHS full news release here

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