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November 2, 2020

How are the US presidential election candidates approaching Covid-19 testing?

By GlobalData Healthcare

Testing is a critical cornerstone of the Covid-19 response. The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends the implementation of effective testing strategies that allow the virus to be successfully traced and contained. In the US, there have been ongoing challenges with Covid-19 testing and testing supplies with significant delays in turn-around times for results. Expanding the capacity, throughput, and speed of returning results is therefore urgently required. This is possible with rapid point-of-care (POC) tests that detect the virus without a laboratory.

Both the Democrat and Republican parties support the accelerated deployment of rapid Covid-19 tests. On 28 September, President Trump promised the availability of 150 million rapid POC tests across states in order to facilitate the opening of the economy and schools as soon as possible. Similarly, Democrat party candidate Joe Biden plans to invest in free next-generation testing, including at-home and instant tests. This proposal, however, calls for broader reform of supply chains by increasing domestic manufacturing capacity.

POC tests are typically low-cost and therefore more widely available, which will increase the pace of testing as well as accelerate the POC diagnostics market. According to the GlobalData marketed products database, there are over 300 Covid-19 POC tests on the market globally. With support from both parties, the market is expected to surge in size. Larger manufacturers such as Abbott Laboratories are set to benefit from this increased demand. However, smaller manufacturers will be affected as they lack the supply chain or regulatory experience to design tests that can be successfully mass-produced.

GlobalData expects Covid-19 testing will be prioritised should either candidate be elected. Although there are some differences in policy, the goal for both parties remains the same: increase testing capacity to enable the normalisation of society.

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