The program aims to identify manufacturers that create high-quality coronavirus tests and encourage bringing them to market. Officials said that should increase testing options and lower costs. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The National Institutes of Health will spend tens of millions of dollars to speed up development of COVID-19 tests that Americans can take at home, the White House said Monday.
Officials said $70 million has been earmarked for the initiative, which the administration hopes will cut down the costs of testing and make it easier and more available.
"Access to easy-to-use, affordable and reliable COVID tests is key to bringing peace of mind to our families, especially as we approach winter," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Monday.
"We are boosting the supply of at-home tests and the number of test options for Americans nationwide. As we pursue our path out of this pandemic under President [Joe] Biden, we will continue doing everything we can to keep people safe and healthy."
Officials said the NIH Independent Test Assessment Program will establish an accelerated pathway to support the Food and Drug Administration's evaluation of COVID-19 detection tests with potential for large-scale manufacturing.
The program will help identify manufacturers that create high-quality tests and encourage bringing them to market. Officials said the effort should increase testing options and lower costs.
"NIH will provide reliable, independent laboratory and clinical data to FDA for test manufacturers that can scale up quickly," the White House said in a statement.
"These actions demonstrate our continued commitment and flexibility to providing a streamlined approach to developers to increase the availability of rapid at-home tests," added Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.