US to increase at-home COVID-19 rapid test availability
The U.S. is on pace to have about 200 million at-home COVID-19 rapid tests available per month beginning in December, about four times more than earlier this year.
The White House says the supply boost is the result of a new $1 billion federal investment, on top of the $2 billion committed to increasing the availability of the convenient diagnostic tests in September. It’s also due to the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of a new test from ACON labs this week.
More than 18 months into the pandemic, the U.S. trails other nations in supplies of at-home tests, which are widely used overseas as part of regular testing programs to catch asymptomatic infections. While less accurate than PCR tests, at-home kits are cheaper and faster, allowing for serial screening of schoolchildren, long-term care residents and office workers.
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The White House says it is also working to double the number of local pharmacies offering free coronavirus testing to 20,000 in the coming weeks to improve access to testing.