The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday it authorized a new over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid antigen test that “is expected to double rapid at-home testing capacity in the U.S. over the next several weeks.”
The FDA’s emergency use authorization is for the ACON Laboratories Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test, which can be used at home without a prescription.
ACON, a San Diego-based company, plans to produce more than 100 million tests per month, and 200 per month by February 2022, the FDA said in a statement.
The test involves collecting nasal swabs and yields results within about 15 minutes—much shorter than PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which take 1-5 days to do so.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients acknowledged on Oct. 1 that at-home rapid test is “under a lot of demand” but that manufacturing would scale up and double across the next several months.
“We’re just going to keep at it to encourage those manufacturers to increase capacity and to drive down the cost of those tests,” he added. “So, we will continue to pull every lever we can to increase the convenience of rapid at-home testing.”
It comes as the Department of Defense the same day announced that its logistics agency awarded six contracts with a combined value of over $2.78 billion for 150 million at home and 400 million point-of-care test COVID-19 test kits. The move is in support of the Biden administration’s efforts to combat COVID-19.