Drivers line up at the entrance of Montgomery County’s first mass coronavirus test center in Upper Dublin Township on March 20, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wil Acosta)

HHS Invests in Diagnostic Labs to Expand COVID-19 Testing Capacity in the United States

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced combined investments of $6.5 million in two commercial diagnostic laboratories to expand capacity to conduct up to 4 million additional SARS-CoV-2 per month. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. The investments in Aegis Sciences Corporation  and in Sonic Healthcare USA  will provide critical laboratory equipment supplied by Beckman Coulter Life Sciences  and Thermo Fisher  Scientific and increase staffing and infrastructure to allow the U.S. to perform an additional 1 million tests each week by early October.

“We are committed to leveraging every possible opportunity to expand the nation’s SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity over the next several months,” said Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Brett Giroir, M.D. “For this opportunity, we were able to match available instrumentation and reagents with commercial labs that were ready to immediately expand their services. We are honored to work with these labs and life sciences tools companies to ensure increased access to testing as may be needed this fall.”

Aegis Sciences Corporation

In response to HHS investment, Aegis will rapidly expand its laboratory workforce and begin construction on new laboratory space at its testing facilities in Nashville, Tennessee, to meet its goal of processing more than 60,000 test samples per day beginning in September. With its expanded daily testing capacity, Aegis has agreed to partner with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to perform testing of samples from select locations with vulnerable populations. These tests will return results in under 48 hours.

Sonic Healthcare USA

Sonic Healthcare USA is collaborating closely with HHS to expeditiously ramp up their testing capacity at eight SARS-CoV-2 testing facilities. HHS will provide access to instrumentation and supplies necessary to rapidly expand the scope and expedite the timeline of their ongoing capacity expansion plans. The new testing capacity will significantly enhance patient access to SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing across the country.

Beckman Coulter Life Sciences

Beckman Coulter Life Sciences will provide equipment that will enable laboratories to optimize their workflow, thereby increasing SARS-CoV-2 testing by up to 10,000 tests each day at 10 separate sites totaling an increase of 100,000 per day across the country.

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific is supplying HHS with 56 KingFisher Flex extraction and purification systems and 40 QuantStudio 7 Flex Real-time polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests. Each PCR test can run 384 samples at a time. These 96 systems – capable of running more than 140,000 samples per day, in total – will be placed at Aegis Sciences Corporation laboratories in Nashville, Tennessee, and at Sonic Healthcare USA labs around the country.

Read more at HHS

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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