U.S. government agrees to buy Becton’s COVID-19 testing devices

The U.S. government will buy Becton, Dickinson and Co’s COVID-19 testing devices and kits, the company said on Wednesday, as it ramps up its testing for the virus that has been spreading at an alarming rate.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to buy 2,000 of its BD Veritor Plus Systems and 750,000 of its SARS-CoV-2 antigen test kits, the company said.

According to U.S. health experts, broad testing for the virus in the country needs to be ramped up as the White House considers when and how to lift stay-at-home restrictions and lockdowns triggered by the pandemic.

The medical device maker said it would start distributing the devices and kits starting next week.

The device received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month and is already being used by more than 25,000 hospitals, apart from clinician offices, urgent care centers and retail pharmacies in all 50 U.S. states.

Becton said last week that the U.S. government would invest $42 million in the company to expand its manufacturing capacity for syringes and needles to support vaccination efforts against COVID-19.

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