(Reuters) – The U.S. government has awarded diagnostic testing company Cue Health Inc $481 million to scale up the production of rapid COVID-19 molecular test, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday.
The company will raise the domestic production of COVID-19 test kits to 100,000 per day by March 2021 under the deal and deliver 6 million tests and 30,000 instruments to the government to support its response to the pandemic, the health agency said.
The point-of-care test can detect the novel coronavirus in about 20 minutes with nasal swab samples collected using a Sample Wand from the lower part of the nose, the HHS said.
The system also allows results to be sent to a mobile phone via an app.
The company’s test kit was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in
Rick Bright, the federal vaccine chief-turned-whistleblower who was reassigned to a different agency and subsequently criticized the Trump administration’s pandemic response, has left the federal government, Bright’s lawyers announced on Tuesday.
“Dr. Bright was forced to leave his position at NIH because he can no longer sit idly by and work for an administration that ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists, resulting the [sic.] in the sickness and death of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement.
HHS declined comment.
“We can confirm that Dr. Bright has resigned, effective today,” an NIH spokesperson said, adding that the agency “does not discuss personnel issues beyond confirming employment.”
Bright was abruptly removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in April and reassigned to NIH, and he alleges that he was demoted because he opposed political