We’re basically a year into the pandemic, and some people are still having a difficult time getting tested. The new Biden administration wants to change that, but like so many things the new President has in the works, this is not a flawless plan. Here’s what you need to know about the $230 million the White House just spent on at-home COVID-19 test kits.
As of today, the Biden administration is funding production of the Ellume tests on a massive scale, reported The Hill. White House officials announced on Monday that they are giving $230 million to Ellume to speed up production. The company has agreed to produce 8.5 million tests by the end of the year, and will be able to ship about 100,000 a month from February to July, reported The Hill. That means that we could, theoretically, see these tests hit shelves in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed.
These tests aren’t new, though. They’re manufactured by Australian company Ellume and were approved by the FDA in December. The tests themselves are pretty cool. They use at-home pregnancy-test like strpis for testing in combination with an app that tracks cases and reports anonymously to health officials. The Ellume test is about 95% effective and only takes 15 minutes to take, and if you’ve ever had to wait 10 days for a result, you already know that having easy access to quick, accurate testing could be a game changer in terms of sanity, not to mention curbing the spread of COVID-19. That’s the good news.
The catch in all this is that the test still costs $30. That may be the cost of a yoga class for some, but for others, that’s a week’s worth of groceries. As usual, testing will be most available to those who can most easily afford it. The Biden administration is showing its investment in the health of this country, for sure, but who’s health? This $230 million investment is going to a big company who will then sell tests to people who can already afford tests — and vaccines. Basically, this is a very Biden PR move — it looks progressive if you squint, but in reality, it only supports the status quo.