Trump Administration Moves To Expand Coronavirus Testing

Both the Department of Health and Human Services and FDA announced new efforts to boost coronavirus test availability.
Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 13, 2020

The Trump administration has announced a series of measures to boost coronavirus testing access in the country.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday it will provide funding to two companies to help speed up development of their tests. It also announced the department's assistant secretary for health, Adm. Brett Giroir, will now be in charge of coordinating testing efforts among federal, state and local health authorities, as well as public and private labs.

Meanwhile, the FDA announced it's granting a global health care manufacturer emergency authorization to provide labs with a faster coronavirus test. The company says its testing system can process more than 4,000 samples a day and produce results in three and a half hours. 

The FDA also gave New York's State Health Department the authority to approve testing labs without having to go through the FDA first. It also said its 24-hour hotline is available if labs run into issues with getting test kits or other supplies.

The Trump administration has struggled to meet coronavirus testing demands as the number of cases across the country continues to grow. During a congressional hearing on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S.' current testing system "is not geared to what we need right now."