New government contract increases production of antibody and point-of-care COVID-19 tests
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) office and the US Department of Defense (DOD) have agreed to a $53.7 million government contract with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics to increase COVID-19 test production.
The deal, signed in early April 2021, is designed to increase Ortho’s monthly COVID-19 test production from 1.8 million tests per month to 6.7 million tests per month. In announcing the deal, Ortho specifically noted that the capacity expansion is designated for not just diagnostic COVID-19 testing, but also for the company’s two COVID-19 antibody tests. This expansion and government contract come at a time when some believe there is a renewed interest in antibody testing.
“[This partnership] underscores the continued and critical importance of bolstering the nation’s testing infrastructure by leveraging highly accurate, automated and scalable diagnostic and serological tests that are FDA emergency use authorized,” said Chris Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. “We look forward to expanding the availability of these testing solutions to communities in need.”
This new government contract emphasizes a continued interest in expanding COVID-19 testing capabilities in the US, even as the vaccine rollout is well underway and cases are declining in most locations. This deal also indicates that increased accessibility to antibody testing may play a role in the upcoming months.
Ortho: Ortho Announces Plans to Accelerate COVID-19 Antigen and Antibody Test Development Through New Contract with BARDA and the Department of Defense
US Department of Defense: DOD Awards $53.7 Million Contract to Ortho Clinical Diagnostics