Biden administration orders $600M in COVID tests to deliver to households

The Biden administration will once again provide US households with free at-home COVID-19 tests ahead of the colder fall and winter months. 

Twelve domestic manufacturers have been awarded $600 million to manufacture some 200 million new over-the-counter COVID-19 tests, which will be made available to the public through starting Sept. 25, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

Households may order up to four free tests, which are intended for use through the end of the year and will detect the currently circulating variants of the coronavirus. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration, in partnership with domestic manufacturers, has made great strides in addressing vulnerabilities in the US supply chain by reducing our reliance on overseas manufacturing,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “These critical investments will strengthen our nation’s production levels of domestic at-home COVID-19 rapid tests and help mitigate the spread of the virus.”

COVID-19 test
The government has ordered approximately 200 million new COVID-19 test kits.

California-based healthcare products manufacturer iHealth received the largest amount of federal outlays, $167 million, to produce the new tests. New Jersey-based Access Bio is receiving the second-largest payment, $88.7 million, as part of the new program. 

Advin, CorDx, Kwell Laboratories and Quidel are the other California-based companies receiving funding. Azure in Texas,  InBios in Washington, Maxim Bio in Maryland, OraSure Technologies in Pennsylvania, Sekisui in Delaware, and Princeton BioMeditech in New Jersey, have also been awarded millions of dollars by the Biden administration to produce the new COVID tests.

“Manufacturing COVID-19 tests in the United States strengthens our preparedness for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, reduces our reliance on other countries, and provides good jobs to hardworking Americans,” Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell said in a statement. “ASPR’s investments in these domestic manufacturers will increase availability of tests in the future.”

Joe Biden
This is the fifth program to deliver at-home COVID tests launched by the Biden administration.
AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration’s latest initiative follows four previous rounds of deliveries that provided over 755 million people with COVID tests free of charge, according to HHS.  

While the COVID-19 public health emergency was officially declared over in May, public health officials nationwide have started to log a steady uptick in cases of the virus. 

“As we head into the fall and winter months, and once again see an uptick in COVID across the State, I urge all New Yorkers to remember that COVID is a treatable disease, and we now have an updated vaccine that will help reduce your chance of serious illness and hospitalization. Remember, it’s about personal protection, personal prevention, and personal wellness,” New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said earlier this month.