Due to the rapid spread of Omicron across the US, there is a huge demand for Covid at-home test kits. The testing centers are overcrowded, and many people have to wait for several hours to get the test done. Even after this, the results are not immediately available, and they have to wait nearly two days to get the test reports. The at-home test kits have become popular due to this reason across the country.
Covid Test Kit Manufacturers Struggling With Supply And Staff Shortage
The federal government has also promised to supply at-home test kits to the public for free of cost. The government agencies have placed huge orders for such rapid covid test kits. However, the manufacturers are struggling to meet demands as even they are affected by the pandemic like any other manufacturing unit. The rapid test kit manufacturers are affected by staff shortages due to infection. Apart from that, they are also dealing with such a shortage of raw materials required to manufacture the test kits in a short duration of time.
As per official estimates, the total capacity of all these manufacturing units across the US is about 260 million kits monthly. As they are working hard to improve the process, the figure is likely to double in the next two months. The federal government has already placed orders for more than 500 million test kits with these manufacturers.
Apart from the order received by the federal government, the manufacturers are also having a huge demand on regular sales of these kits at pharmacies and retail outlets. In this manner, the overall demand for rapid covid test kits will be more than 2000 million kits in the next few weeks.
The federal government recently entered into an agreement with Abbott, iHealth Labs, and Roche Diagnostics to supply nearly 380 million Covid test kits in the next few weeks. Speaking to the media, Abbott executives said that they have already increased production and plan to start a few more manufacturing units in the US. Apart from that, the company is also focusing on automation technology to speed up the production process.
As of now, Abbott can deliver about 70 million test kits, and they are likely to fulfill the order by the federal government in the next few weeks. The company plans to increase the production capacity to nearly 100 million in the near future, considering the massive demand for such kits in the market.
Similarly, Roche Diagnostics is also struggling to meet the demand, and they are working hard to fulfill the order given by the federal government. Company executives say that they will begin the supplies in the next few weeks. The company has invested hundreds of millions in boosting up the production of test kits.
One of the leading suppliers of test kits in the US, Quidel, has been dealing with staff shortages in this wave of pandemics. The company reported that nearly 10% of their staff are infected, and this has affected the production of test kits to a large extent. The company has the capacity to produce over 40 million test kits on a monthly basis, and they have plans to double the capacity in the next few weeks due to the huge demand in the market for such rapid test kits.
There are also concerns about the availability of raw materials to manufacture the test kits. Many manufacturers are dealing with this issue, and they cannot meet the market demand in this situation. The federal government is planning to provide test kits for free across the country, and deliveries are all set to begin next week.