The Biden administration will use wartime powers to significantly increase the supply of rapid at-home and point-of-care COVID-19 tests, a move some experts say could go a long way in slowing the spread of the virus.
The Defense Production Act (DPA) will also be used to “rapidly surge” domestic testing capabilities, investing money in six suppliers to produce 61 million at-home and point-of-care tests to be available by the end of the summer, said Tim Manning, the White House COVID-19 response team supply coordinator.
“The country is well behind where we need to be on testing, particularly the rapid at-home tests that will allow us all to get back to normal activities like work and school,” Manning said.
Manning did not say how much the financial investment would be in the suppliers but said it would help industry partners build new plants and production lines in the U.S. He also did not name the suppliers who would be involved, stating that contract negotiations have not been finalized yet.
The DPA will also be used to increase the supply of raw materials and equipment needed to produce vaccines and surgical gloves in the U.S.
The U.S. will build rubber factories and help build separate factories to make the gloves.
By the end of the year, the U.S. will produce more than a billion surgical gloves a month. Currently, the U.S. is nearly 100 percent reliant on overseas manufacturers for its glove supply, Manning said.