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HHS says it's spending $70 million to expand home COVID-19 testing

HHS says it's spending $70 million to expand home COVID-19 testing
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.

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"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."

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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.

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"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.

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"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.

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