The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced an investment of $650m in rapid diagnostic testing to increase access to Covid-19 tests.

The funding, from the American Rescue Plan, is aimed at strengthening domestic manufacturing capacity for quick diagnostic testing through rapid point-of-care molecular tests as well as increasing access to tests for Americans.

According to HHS, the need for follow-up Covid-19 testing in healthcare settings is expected to increase as at-home rapid testing in the country rises.

The investment will be utilised to ensure these types of tests will be readily available throughout the US and can provide quick test results.

HHS secretary Xavier Becerra said: “Access to fast, accurate and reliable tests help keep Americans safe and healthy.

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“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we are increasing our testing supply, investing in American manufacturers and continuing to support these critical tools for getting the pandemic under control.”

The funding from HHS will help to expand and sustain testing capacity for hospitals and pharmacies as well as community health and urgent care settings, which use rapid Covid-19 tests to screen patients prior to surgery to avoid delays.

HHS will use the investment to increase domestic manufacturing capacity, providing support for access to this type of diagnostic testing.

The funding will also help to purchase raw materials and finished tests to increase the diagnostic tests’ domestic supply.

The reliance on overseas imports can be reduced by strengthening the ability to produce the tests within the US. This will allow the country to sustain robust long-term manufacturing throughout the next year.

Recently, US President Joseph Biden announced $3bn in funding for rapid testing.

The aim is to increase the rapid test supply and quadruple the at-home test supply by the end of the year.