US-based diagnostic testing solutions provider Quidel has opened a new manufacturing facility for the mass manufacture of the company’s QuickVue SARS rapid antigen tests for Covid-19.

The facility is set to become operational in the second half of this year. It will produce 600 million QuickVue tests each year for the detection and diagnosis of Covid-19 infections.

Located in Carlsbad, California, the new 128,000ft² facility will be Quidel’s highest-volume production plant globally.

The company is planning to install several manufacturing lines and employ approximately 400 new employees, including engineers, chemists, technicians, manufacturing, purchasing, sourcing, and support services, at the unit.

Quidel aims to ramp up its operations to produce 50 million tests per month at full capacity, including non-Covid-19 diagnostic tests that are under development and currently existing.

Quidel president and CEO Douglas Bryant said: “From the first days of the pandemic, Quidel has stepped up to meet the Covid-19 challenge head-on with innovative diagnostic technologies to detect coronavirus infections and expanded manufacturing to democratise access to affordable and high-quality testing.

“The opening of our massive new QuickVue manufacturing plant is our boldest move yet and is expected to provide Quidel with the scale necessary to serve the needs of communities and institutions for frequent testing now and for years to come.”

Quidel’s QuickVue SARS Antigen Test was granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last December.

Developed by the company, QuickVue lateral-flow technology is visually readable to the user and offers results in ten minutes from nasal swab samples.

The initial applications for the QuickVue tests range from hospitals and physician offices to schools and pharmacies.

Quidel said it is currently pursuing EUA for a new QuickVue At-Home Covid-19 Test for over-the-counter sale directly to consumers.