President-elect Joe Biden’s advisers are planning a massive expansion of the United States’ coronavirus testing capacity to help bring the country’s spiraling outbreak under control.
The Biden team is focusing on ways to detect people who are infected but not showing symptoms, to keep those potential superspreaders from passing the virus to others. The strategies under discussion, according to four experts advising Biden, include increasing the availability of cheap, rapid tests; using the Defense Production Act to beef up the supply of pipettes, chemicals and other key testing materials; and strengthening federal coordination of testing.
The efforts have gotten a boost from recent technological advances, such as the FDA’s decision this week to green light the first fully at-home test. The Biden team is also talking to groups like The Rockefeller Foundation, said an executive at the non-profit group, which is working with cities, states and tribes to improve access to testing, determine how it can be used to keep schools open, and set up effective contact-tracing programs.