Administration to make at-home COVID-19 tests more available

The Biden administration announced on Monday its plan to make rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests cheaper and more available through an accelerated Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization process.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to commit $70 million from the American Rescue Plan to boost the number of over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests on the market. I’m

Under this strategy, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to prioritize FDA authorization applications for COVID-19 tests from companies that “have the potential for manufacturing at significant scale.”

Experts from the FDA, NIH, HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aim to analyze and conduct studies on these tests and cooperate with companies to collect the necessary data for an FDA emergency authorization application.

Significance: Jeffrey Shuran, the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said the streamlined policies will help attract more companies to the U.S.

“The most important step recently has been the money that the government has pumped into and continues to put into testing,” he said. “I think … the actions today are complementary to that and can expedite the assessment of candidates for over-the-counter tests.”

The need for testing is expected to jump once the administration’s vaccinate-or-test rule goes into effect for businesses with at least 100 employees.