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Swab at Home

The White House is to announce a $1 billion purchase of at-home tests for SARS-CoV-2, the Washington Post reports.

This, Politico says, would about quadruple the number of tests available in the US by the end of the year. The Post adds that rapid, at-home testing for SARS-CoV-2 has not been as widely available in the US as in countries in Asia and Europe. The New York Times notes that the demand for rapid tests in the US has grown as schools and offices have reopened and as travel and gatherings have increased.

"These tests are cheap to make — and there's a lot of demand for it out there," Ashish Jha from Brown University School of Public Health tells the Post. "The reason the market hasn't worked is because the [Food and Drug Administration] has made it very difficult for these tests to get out into the marketplace."

According to the Post, the FDA has been concerned that rapid tests are less accurate than the slower, lab-run PCR tests. Still, the agency earlier this week granted an emergency use authorization to Acon Laboratories for its over-the-counter antigen test for SARS-CoV-2, as 360Dx reports.

Politico says this and other investments will help increase the production of tests from a number of manufacturers, including Abbott, OraSure, Quidel, and Intrivo.