President Joe Biden Bets on Rapid COVID Tests

Andrea Doyle, Senior News Editor
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Industry experts agree that effective COVID-19 rapid testing is the key to restarting trade shows. The Biden administration is committed to making rapid home tests available. It has awarded a $231.8 million contract to Ellume Limited, an Australian company that can send results to a smartphone within 15 minutes of receiving a sample.

This contract will scale up production of these rapid antigen tests, a crucial part of overall recovery and a critical step in the road to orchestrating large-scale gatherings once again.

“Home tests like Ellume will be another tool as we begin to open up the economy and start to attend events and conferences, as people will be able to use a test like this as a screening tool, specifically for those not showing symptoms,” Dr. Sean Parsons, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Ellume, said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the test in December after it proved to be 96% accurate. As part of the 2021 contract, Ellume will provide 8.5 million tests to the federal government. The company says it will build a factory in the U.S. to make the tests and plans to produce 19 million kits a month later this year.

The test, purchased without a prescription, utilizes an at-home setting, requiring no assistance from a health care provider, and is expected to be available for about $30. The test can be performed in approximately 15 minutes from a nasal swab specimen, with results reported via a smartphone app.

What makes these tests so important is that someone can screen themself and avoid contact with others if they are infected with COVID-19.

Related: New Rapid Self-Administered COVID-19 “Home” Test Will Help Shows Get Back on the Road

Ellume is currently the only rapid test approved for non-prescription use for people both with and without symptoms. It is an ideal screening tool for those who feel healthy, but may have COVID-19, as many cases are asymptomatic.

COVID-19 rapid testing is the key to restarting trade shows. The Biden administration is committed to making rapid home tests available. It has awarded a $231.8 million contract to Ellume Limited
COVID-19 rapid testing is the key to restarting trade shows. The Biden administration is committed to making rapid home tests available. It has awarded a $231.8 million contract to Ellume Limited

“Our product can have a huge impact on the market, but it’s also one of many solutions necessary to make a dent in this pandemic,” Parsons added.

How important is testing to the trade show industry? Essential, according to industry experts. Take MAGIC Pop-Up Orlando being held February 9-11 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Providing a negative test is required to enter the show floor.

David DuBois, president and CEO of IAEE, says testing is one piece of the puzzle. “The expanded availability and utilization of vaccines is critical to the future success of exhibitions and events. It is just one of many realities that have to take place. Testing, social distancing, vaccinations and safety/health considerations/guidelines for our hosting venues must be in place simultaneously. We must continue to promote and provide trustworthy realities that will help to convince exhibitors and attendees and government officials and employers that our industry has and can host and produce safe and healthy and productive exhibitions and events.”

Reach David Dubois at (972) 687-9204 or ddubois@iaee.com.