FOCUS-U.S. plans for hundreds of millions of cheap, fast COVID-19 tests

By Carl O’Donnell

Sept 17 (Reuters) – U.S. manufacturers are sharply increasing production of cheap, fast – but less accurate – COVID-19 tests, aiming for 100 million per month by year end that will enable schools and workplaces to significantly expand testing.

Manufacturing and government sources tell Reuters that more than half a dozen so-called antigen tests will likely be authorized by the end of October. U.S. regulators in recent months have authorized antigen tests from Abbott Laboratories , Becton Dickinson & Co , Quidel Corp and LumiraDX.

When planned production of the newly authorized tests are combined with previously approved diagnostics, overall monthly U.S. testing capacity will exceed 200 million per month by year end, these sources said.

Makers of the four recently-approved antigen tests have the capacity to make around 40 million per month, but expect to more than double that by year end, according to a

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