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Pentagon moves to increase production of coronavirus testing swabs

Pentagon moves to increase production of coronavirus testing swabs
© UPI Photo

The Pentagon on Wednesday moved to increase the production of coronavirus testing swabs by announcing it will invest $75.5 million in the Defense Production Act (DPA).

The millions of dollars in funding to Puritan Medical Products will boost swab production by 20 million per month beginning in May, Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Mike Andrews said in a Wednesday statement.

Andrews said Puritan Medical Products “will quickly establish a new manufacturing facility capable of doubling its current monthly output of 20 million to 40 million swabs." The company will develop a new manufacturing facility in Pittsfield, Maine, and hire 150 new employees that month.

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The Pentagon’s statement follows President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE’s announcement last week that he will invoke the DPA to increase the manufacturing of testing swabs. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told The Washington Post last week that the president planned to “move swiftly” to direct the boosted production. 

“As Congress adds funds to DPA Title III, this invaluable tool can be strategically used to provide both surge capacity and longer run capabilities through funding key projects,” Navarro said in an interview with the Post.

States have been dealing with a shortage of medical swabs to conduct testing as they aim to keep up testing amid the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this month that an at-home Q-tip-style swab test may at some point be available for Americans.