White House signs $750 million deal with Abbott labs to buy 150 million rapid coronavirus tests

The United States signed a $750 million deal with Abbott Laboratories for 150 million rapid coronavirus tests, the White House announced Thursday.

“By strategically distributing 150 million of these tests to where they’re needed most, we can track the virus like never before and protect millions of Americans at risk in especially vulnerable situations,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Federal Drug Administration granted the company emergency authorization for its new COVID-19 test.

The test called BinaxNow can deliver results in 15 minutes without using lab equipment and would cost $5.

In a statement, the company also said it was preparing to “ship tens of millions of tests in September, ramping production to 50 million tests a month in October.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, that total in October would be double the number of tests conducted in July.

The Journal reported that the test is about the size of a credit card and can be given in a doctor’s or school nurse’s office.

The contract could help expand testing in the US. Azar said the testing would potentially be “deployed to schools and to assist with serving other special needs populations.”

“This is a major development that will help our country to remain open, get Americans back to work and kids back to school,” White House senior adviser Alyssa Farah said, according to the Journal.

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