Trump announces $ 750 million deal with Abbott for at least 150 million rapid coronavirus tests

A sign shows a new rapid coronavirus test on the new Abbott ID Now machine at a ProHEALTH center in Brooklyn on August 27, 2020 in New York City. The portable Abbott ID now uses a nasal swab to detect acute and contagious cases of COVID-19. ProHEALTH offers the new service, which can deliver a test result in 15 minutes, at its centers in the Tri-State area.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Thursday intends to announce the purchase of 150 million rapid Covid-19 tests as part of a $ 750 million deal with Abbott Laboratories, a White House official confirmed to CNBC.

Trump plans to use his speech at the Republican National Convention to announce the deal, the official said.

“Under President Trump, the US is leading the world in testing,” communications director Alyssa Farah told the White House in a statement to CNBC. “This is a major development that will help our country stay open, get Americans back to work, and children back to school. The Trump Administration is proud to partner with Abbott Labs to make this purchase possible. to help the American people. “

The Food and Drug Administration approved approval for Abbott’s emergency use at the end of Wednesday for its new coronavirus antigen test, the first Covid-19 test it says costs about $ 5 and delivers results in minutes on a test card without lab equipment, similar to a pregnancy test.

Shares of Abbott jumped Thursday by more than 9% in intraday trading.

Abbott said in a statement after receiving FDA approval that it “will ship tens of millions of tests in September, and production will rise to 50 million tests per month in October.”

Representatives of Abbott Labs did not immediately return CNBC’s request for comment. Representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment.

The test, called BinaxNOW, is an antigen test, which more often than not diagnoses someone as negative when they are actually infected with Covid-19 than molecular tests. While molecular testing is the most accurate on the market, it relies on technical lab equipment, trained personnel, and a tight supply chain, making it difficult to scale up molecular testing to a large scale.

“Because of the potential for reduced susceptibility compared to molecular assays, adverse test results may need to be confirmed with a molecular test before treatment is decided,” the FDA said in its authorization of the BinaxNOW test. “Negative results of an antigen test should be considered in the context of clinical observations, patient history, and epidemiological information.”

The test is currently only authorized for use in patients suspected of having Covid-19 and “within seven days after onset of symptom”, says the FDA, meaning it is not authorized to treat asymptomatic or presymptomatic people test.

“This test could be used at healthcare facilities, such as a doctor’s office, emergency room or some schools,” says the FDA. “Given the simple nature of this test, it is likely that these tests can be made widely available.”

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