What is the cause of the lack of COVID-19 testing at home? – Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-09-13 09:14:16 –

President Joe Biden’s new strategy to end the pandemic includes plans to explode the production of rapid COVID-19 testing at home, but testing is currently sold out quickly in stores and online. increase.

The shortage failed to develop a home test market large enough for the United States to cope with the surge in demand caused by delta variants and the breakthrough increase in infections among vaccinated people. The result.

“It’s like trying to buy toilet paper at the beginning of a pandemic,” said David Perry, who bought the last two packs of Abbott’s Binax NOW test in Walgreens, North Oaks, Minnesota.

Home COVID-19 testing is not only harder to find than in other countries. They are also more expensive.

“It’s basically $ 50 a round for the family,” Perry said. “It’s the price I’m willing to pay, but it’s starting to add up soon.”

Healthcare professional testing is still widely available in places such as pharmacies, clinics, and drive-through clinics, but it has become more difficult to find appointments in the last few weeks.

The deficiency is affecting self-testing at home, which provides results in minutes. CVS limits the number of customers that can buy at one time, and the brand is backordered on Amazon.

This is in contrast to other countries where many self-tests are still available.

Seven quick tests are available daily for UK residents. Each Israeli kindergarten child took a free home exam before the first day of school.

David Peck sent a photo of a trash can full of tests marked down at a German grocery store. The cost of a box of 5 tests is less than 4 euros and less than 1 euro per test. This is affordable enough for Peck to screen himself daily from his home in Spain.

“It’s like brushing your teeth in the morning,” Peck said. “You do a COVID test, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and eat breakfast.”

The United States has never opened up a strong market for over-the-counter COVID-19 testing, but federal health officials have long stated that they are important.

“A quick home test that allows you to return to normal activities such as work or school,” said Tim Manning, supply coordinator for the White House’s COVID-19 response team, at a media briefing on February 5. ..

Sara Citrenbaum, a research specialist at rapidtests.org, an all-volunteer group promoting rapid testing as a tool to combat the coronavirus, said: “Last year we couldn’t convince a place for our lives to actually use these tests.”

Other countries have flooded the market by encouraging frequent COVID-19 screening, including asymptomatic people, and buying billions of home kits at low prices.

The US public health message focuses on vaccination, not testing. Demand for home testing fell further in the spring after the CDC said that fully vaccinated people would not need testing unless exposed to someone confirmed to be suspected of having COVID-19. rice field.

“The United States has never actually accepted the idea of ​​an asymptomatic test,” Citrenbaum said.

By May, many Americans are planning to return to normal summer, and Abbott had a surplus of 15 minutes of Binax NOW testing. The company has fired employees and has begun disposing of test components that the company said have expired.

European countries were still buying self-tests, so when delta variants inflated infection rates, screening kits were as easy to find as pregnancy tests and remain abundant today.

“It’s really comfortable,” Peck said. “The only way to reduce risk.”

Many of the leading manufacturers selling abroad lack FDA approval to provide testing here and cannot help close the supply gap.

Biden announced on Thursday plans to send millions of quick tests to community centers and food banks for free.

Wal-Mart, Amazon and Kroger have agreed to sell the test for a fee over the next three months to lower prices. However, manufacturers say it takes time to build a supply.

“We’re recovering … we’re hiring people and turning on idle or slowed parts of our manufacturing network,” Abbott said in a statement.

Test maker Ellume says demand has skyrocketed by 900% over the past month. An Australian company is building a triple production plant in Frederick, Maryland, but will not be online until the end of the year.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could all get this test and not be as complicated and expensive as taking allergic drugs?” Perry said.

That hope is already a reality outside the United States

This story was originally published by Newsy..

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