COVID Rapid Test Makers Struggling to Meet Demand

News Picture: COVID Rapid Test Makers Struggling to Meet Demand

FRIDAY, Jan. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News)

Shortages of each provides and employees are wreaking havoc on the efforts of COVID at-home take a look at makers to ship sufficient of the assessments to Americans, even because the federal authorities pledges to offer 500 million free, at-home kits.

Like many different companies, take a look at equipment producers “have too many of their staff out with COVID. Thus, even if they have the physical capacity for production, they don’t have the staff,” Mara Aspinall, from Arizona State University, and colleagues wrote in a publication, NBC News reported.

She estimated that the present complete month-to-month capability of US fast at-home take a look at equipment manufacturing is 260 million models monthly, which is predicted to rise to 355 million by February and 526 million by March.

The authorities’s order for the free take a look at kits is along with current provide and would not intervene with current orders, stated a senior White House official, who added that 4 new fast assessments with high-volume manufacturing capability have been licensed since September, NBC News reported.

On Jan. 13, the Department of Defense introduced the awarding of contracts to 3 firms, Abbott, Roche Diagnostics and iHealth labs, for 380 million take a look at kits, in an “effort that helps the president’s plan to ship 500 million free at-home COVID-19 assessments.”

Abbott has plans to “build two new US manufacturing facilities, hired thousands of people for new jobs that pay American wages, and we continue to invest in automation to allow us to scale further,” Kim Modory, Abbott’s senior director of public affairs for diagnostics , informed NBC News,

Abbott is at the moment producing 70 million assessments a month. It is build up the flexibility to fabricate an extra 30 million to be added to assist authorities, college and extra retail efforts, Modory added.

Meanwhile, Roche spokeswoman Michelle Johnson stated the corporate will begin deliveries in January and by March present “tens of millions” of take a look at kits. The firm has invested $500 million globally to spice up instrument and take a look at machine capability. Still, “like other companies, we’ve experienced our share of supply challenges,” she stated.

One of these different firms consists of San Diego-based Quidel, which at the moment produces greater than 40 million assessments a month and plans to extend that to 70 million by February. Unfortunately, 10% of its workforce is at the moment quarantined.

“With Omron, it is gone loopy. The demand far exceeds what we’re doing,” Quidel CEO Douglas Bryant told NBC News, “The greatest problem is definitely sufficient folks to do the work.”

Bryant stated the corporate has discovered it tough to succeed in its goal of hiring 400 employees for a brand new manufacturing facility and discovering sufficient vehicles to make deliveries, NBC News reported.

Supplies are additionally a problem: Demand for high-quality nitrocellulose membrane, the off-white material that kinds the COVID take a look at strip, has soared throughout the pandemic.

Some producers cited difficulties sourcing adequate nitrocellulose provides an an impediment to manufacturing earlier this 12 months, a senior administration official informed NBC News,

“We acted to alleviate” the bottleneck, the official stated.

In an announcement, Rachel Bloom-Baglin, a spokesperson for MilliporeSigma, a provider of nitrocellulose to main US fast take a look at equipment makers, informed NBC News that “uncooked materials availability to make nitrocellulose membrane is available, however the world doesn’t have sufficient membrane manufacturing capability to show the uncooked supplies into completed items, that are then utilized by our clients to fabricate fast antigen assessments.”

The firm makes the product at a facility in Cork, Ireland. Although the corporate accomplished an enlargement of the plant that doubled its capability, even that didn’t meet the sore demand.

On Dec. 29, the Department of Defense awarded a $136.7 million contract to MilliporeSigma for the development of a brand new facility in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, over a three-year timespan, NBC News reported.

More info

Visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for extra on COVID assessments,


Robert Preidt and Robin Foster

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