Just days after ordering 8.5 million at-home tests from Ellume, the Biden administration announced today that it’s in talks with six other at-home coronavirus test manufacturers.
In an online briefing, Tim Manning, the national supply chain coordinator for COVID response, told reporters that these companies could produce another 61 million at-home tests by the end of the summer. Manning declined to identify the manufacturers, citing ongoing contract negotiations, but said more information would be available in the next few weeks.
“Six more companies will surge manufacturing of at-home testing with the goal of by summer having millions of Americans being able to access at-home tests at a multiple of what we talked about on Monday,” added Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator. “It won’t be easy and it’s not happening overnight, but today’s announcement represents another step on the long journey to get back to normal life.”
The Biden administration also plans to use the Defense Production Act to build factories to make nitrile-butadiene rubber, a synthetic rubber needed to manufacture nitrile surgical gloves, which are in short supply. The federal government will help build factories to manufacture the gloves in the U.S. and expects to produce more than 1 billion gloves by the end of the year, according to Manning.
“Right now we just don’t have enough gloves,” he said. “We are nearly 100% reliant on overseas manufacturers to export to us our country’s surgical gloves that protect healthcare workers. That’s unacceptable and we’re using all of our authorities to fix it.”
The Biden administration is also using the DPA to provide Pfizer with more equipment and ingredients for COVID-19 vaccine production, Manning said. The DPA will give Pfizer first access to filling pumps and tangential flow filtration skid units, “critical components Pfizer needs to manufacture the COVID vaccine,” he added.