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A Recap on Rapid COVID-19 Tests

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As you probably saw last week, the Trump administration announced a deal with Abbott Laboratories to produce more than 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests, per CNBC. Abbott’s rapid tests cost about $5 to make and take just a few minutes to deliver results without lab equipment. Such antigen tests are not quite as accurate as molecular tests (which are conducted in a lab), and the FDA says that doctors might find it advisable to confirm a positive result with a molecular test.

Here are some more updates on the deployment of rapid tests, which is an important development in the COVID-19 response effort:

  • The Trump administration offered more details about the shipments this week, announcing that these rapid tests would start making their way to states in mid-September, according to CNN. Most of these tests are intended to go to first responders and to help schools and daycare facilities reopen.
  • The investment has also come with an employment bump, as Abbott Labs brings on new workers to help produce the test, the Daily Herald reports. Around 2,000 employees are needed to help meet demand, and no previous experience is required for jobs that will pay $15 an hour for the day shift and $18 an hour for nights, along with a $2,500 retention bonus.
  • Yahoo! Finance reports that another rapid test maker is seeking emergency FDA approval. Roche Holding AG will launch a rapid test in September in Europe and is hoping to get emergency authorization to roll it out in the United States, too.
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