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Deal for Home Testing

The Biden Administration has reached a $231 million deal with Ellume for its rapid, at-home, over-the-counter test for SARS-CoV-2, as 360Dx reports.

The Australian-based Ellume received an Emergency Use Authorization for its rapid, lateral flow antigen test in December. The test further connects to a smartphone app to deliver results. At the time, the US Food and Drug Administration said the test identified 96 percent of positive samples and all negative samples from symptomatic individuals and 91 percent of positive samples and 96 percent of negative samples from asymptomatic individuals.

With this new contract, the Department of Defense is to help Ellume build a US manufacturing plant with the capability of producing 500,000 tests per day and Ellume is to provide the US federal government with 8.5 million tests, NPR reports. It adds that the first tests provided will be manufactured at the company's Australian facility. 

Harvard University's Michael Mina tells NBC News that the effort is "a step forward in giving Americans access to at-home rapid testing," but adds that "for us to stop the spread of the virus, we need to scale cheap and simple paper-strip antigen tests that a majority of Americans can afford to use frequently."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.