Federal government awards contract for rapid COVID-19 tests

Nov. 3, 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) signed a $12.7-million contract with InBios International, based in Seattle, to expand U.S. production of two rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests, according to a press release from HHS.

The first, called the SCoV-2 Ag Detect Kit, detects current infections by identifying antigens – genetic material – of the virus in a nose swab sample. The second test, called the SCoV-2 Detect IgM/IgG Kit, detects antibodies for the virus in a finger prick of blood, indicating whether the person had a previous COVID-19 infection.

The contract enables InBios to ramp up production of either or both tests to 400,000 units per week – 20 times the facility’s current output – by May 2021, significantly expanding the nation’s testing capacity. 

To support expansion of the company’s domestic production, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Developmental Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, collaborated with HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Department of Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell and the Department of the Air Force’s Acquisition COVID-19 Task Force. BARDA funded the contract under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. 

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