US awards an Australian company $232 mn for at-home Covid test kit


The US government is awarding nearly $232 million to the company Ellume USA LLC to scale up production of its rapid at-home Covid-19 diagnostic test, officials said Monday.

Ellume’s coronavirus home test kit received an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration in December.

The test, which uses a nasal swab and can be purchased without a prescription, can be performed at home with results reported via smartphone app within 15 minutes.

It detects Covid-19 with 95 percent accuracy.

“They can be used if you feel symptoms of Covid-19 and also for screening of people without symptoms so they can safely go to work, to school and to events,” White House coronavirus advisor Andy Slavitt told a press conference.

Slavitt said the US Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services were awarding $231.8 million to the Australia-based Ellume to ramp up production of the test.

He said the company would ship 100,000 test kits per month to the United States from February through July.

The $232 million award to Ellume USA LLC would allow it to scale up manufacturing and produce more than 19 million test kits per month by the end of the year, 8.5 million of which would be guaranteed to the US government.

“The ability to quickly test, to contact trace and quarantine is a linchpin of our national strategy and will be a vital part of containing the virus and stopping community spread,” Slavitt said.

© 2021 AFP/ FRANCE24