Rapid COVID-19 testing in the U.S. might finally get up to speed this fall. According to Politico, the Trump administration struck a $750 million deal with Abbott (NYSE:ABT) to acquire 150 million rapid tests.
On Wednesday, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Abbott for its BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card. This is a $5 test that doesn't require any special equipment and delivers results in 15 minutes from a simple nasal swab.
In addition to a humongous government order and ease of use, Abbott's new test has another advantage over the competition. The BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card works in concert with NAVICA, a new application for iPhone and Android devices that gives people with negative tests an encrypted digital health pass.
In theory, organizations large and small that insist on recent negative tests before admitting customers and employees can use the app to facilitate building access. The 150 million tests acquired by the U.S. government are set to be used in nursing homes, schools, and other high-risk locations.
According to Abbott, around 2.9% of patients taking the test receive a false negative when they're actually infected. About 1.5% of people who aren't infected will receive a false positive.
Abbott is manufacturing BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Cards at scale in two new U.S. facilities. The company will begin shipping the test cards in September and expects to deliver at a rate of 50 million tests per month by October.