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High Demand

Machines and supplies for rapid COVID-19 testing are hard to come by, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Two rapid antigen tests have been granted Emergency Use Authorization in the US — Quidel's Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA and Becton Dickinson's Veritor Plus SARS-CoV-2 assay. However, the Journal notes that getting supplies for these tests to doctors, nursing homes, and federal officials has been challenging. According to 360Dx, Quidel CEO Douglas Bryant has said the demand for antigen tests in particular is "unfathomable."

The Journal reports Quidel is grappling with producing enough analyzers for testing, while Becton Dickinson is wrestling with making enough tests. Both say they are ramping up production, though face supply shortages. The firms have both signed deals to provide instruments and tests to the US Department of Health and Human Services, with the government getting priority for tests and analyzers, it adds.

Katie Schafer, a pediatrician in Birmingham, Mich., tells the Journal that she ordered 1,000 COVID-19 tests to run on a Becton Dickinson analyzer, but has only received 120. "I consider ourselves lucky that we got any at all," she adds. "There's no good news coming out of the reps that sell these tests."