More older Americans at home and their caregivers now will be able to test for COVID-19. That is because the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense recently awarded Ellume, the maker of over-the-counter diagnostic COVID-19 tests, a $230 million contract to scale up manufacturing. 

“After months of pounding the table for support in getting consistent access to critical resources, including tests and supplies, for all providers of aging services, the possibility of increased resources is a positive,” a LeadingAge spokeswoman told McKnight’s Home Care Daily. “Broad-scale, reliable at-home testing would be a boon for care in the home and community, as well as for all aging services.”

The White House hopes that increased availability of the tests will strengthen contact tracing and enable Americans to safely go back to work, Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, told the Inside Health Policy news outlet this week. He added that funding from the contract will enable Ellume to manufacture more than 19 million test kits per month by the end of 2021. And the White House expects the test’s $30 price tag to come down as mass production and scale increases.

“The ability to quickly test to contact trace and quarantine is a linchpin of our national strategy and will be a vital part of maintaining the virus and stopping community spread,” Slavitt said.

The FDA approved the use of the Ellume test in December.