NEW YORK – Becton Dickinson announced on Wednesday that the US Department of Health and Human Services will make a large-volume purchase of its systems and diagnostic assays for COVID-19. The tests detect viral antigens to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection in approximately 15 minutes.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Distribution is set for next week.
Specifically, HHS will buy 2,000 BD Veritor Plus systems and 750,000 SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen tests, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey-based BD said in a statement.
"Until there is an effective treatment or vaccine, rapid diagnostic testing is fundamental to controlling the spread of [COVID-19]," said Dave Hickey, president of integrated diagnostic solutions for BD in a statement.
Admiral Brett Giroir, US assistant secretary for health and COVID-19 testing coordinator, noted the point-of-care device "will significantly expand testing in distributed locations for the benefit of all Americans," adding, "This development will help identify community spread of the virus by further enabling rapid diagnosis of COVID-19."
The US Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization to the BD assay last week.
In a clinical study at 20 US sites the immunoassay-based test had 84 percent sensitivity and 100 percent specificity. The test is one of a handful of viral antigen tests already commercialized or in development for rapid, point-of-care detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The BD Veritor Plus Analyzers are portable instruments that are slightly larger than a cell phone, BD said. The instruments are in use in more than 25,000 hospitals, clinician offices, urgent care centers, and retail pharmacies in all 50 states, and have real-time reporting capabilities through the BD Synapsys informatics solution.
BD expects to produce up to 10 million tests from July through September, and to increase capacity to produce 2 million tests per week by the end of September.