The U.S. is on pace to have about 200 million at-home COVID-19 rapid tests available per month beginning in December, about four times more than earlier this year.
The White House says the supply boost is the result of a new $1 billion federal investment, on top of the $2 billion committed to increasing the availability of the convenient diagnostic tests in September. It’s also due to the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of a new test from ACON labs this week.
More than 18 months into the pandemic, the U.S. trails other nations in supplies of at-home tests, which are widely used overseas as part of regular testing programs to catch asymptomatic infections. While less accurate than PCR tests, at-home kits are cheaper and faster, allowing for serial screening of schoolchildren, long-term care residents and office workers.
The White House says it is also working to double the number of local pharmacies offering free coronavirus testing to 20,000 in the coming weeks to improve access to testing.