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HHS Invests $6.5M in Aegis Sciences, Sonic Healthcare USA to Expand Coronavirus Testing Capacity

NEW YORK — The US Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday that it has awarded $6.5 million to commercial laboratories Aegis Sciences and Sonic Healthcare USA to expand their SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity.

The HHS said that the investments are expected to expand the country's overall testing capacity by 1 million tests a week by October.

According to the HHS, Nashville, Tennessee-based Aegis will use its portion of the funding to expand its workforce and begin constructing new lab space in order to meet the goal of processing over 60,000 test samples per day by September. Aegis has also agreed to work with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to test samples from certain locations with vulnerable populations, returning results within 48 hours. Austin, Texas-based Sonic, a division of Sonic Healthcare, meanwhile, will ramp up its testing capacity at eight of its facilities throughout the US.

Both labs will also receive laboratory equipment from Beckman Coulter Life Sciences that is expected to increase SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity by up to 100,000 tests per day at labs across the US, and from Thermo Fisher Scientific including 56 of its KingFisher Flex extraction and purification systems and 40 of its Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 7 Flex RT-PCR instruments.