Healthineers launches rapid coronavirus antigen test, sees tight supply

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Siemens Healthineers on Wednesday announced the launch of a rapid antigen test kit in Europe to detect coronavirus infections, but warned that the industry may struggle to meet a surge in demand.

The German group, whose rivals in diagnostics include Roche, Abbott and Becton Dickinson , said its test cassette did not require lab processing and would deliver results in 15 minutes, but that the required nasal swabs would have to be taken by healthcare professionals.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which scan genetic code for the markers of a virus, are the gold standard for finding infections but are two to three times more expensive than antigen tests and require processing in a lab.

Antigen tests, which look for proteins found on the surface of the virus, cost about 4-5 euros ($5-$6) each, but miss a few percent of the infections that PCR tests would have caught.

Currently, slightly more than 1 million standard PCR tests are performed in Germany every week.

However, public health systems around the world are eager to provide quick diagnostic tools, and test more widely, to help locate hotspots of the pandemic.

Germany’s health ministry last week said it had secured 9 million antigen tests.

The regional state of Bavaria followed up this week with an order for 10 million antigen tests, saying it had options to purchase from Healthineers, Roche and Abbott. It did not give a timeframe for their use.

“The volumes that are being circulated globally are probably at the limits of what manufacturers can currently supply,” a Healthineers spokesman said.

“We are currently in talks with various governments over possible supply orders.”

The United States and Canada are also buying millions of tests, as is Italy, whose recent tender for 5 million tests attracted offers from 35 companies.

Healthineers is also planning to seek approval for a launch in the United States. ($1 = 0.8501 euros)

(Additional reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Cue Health awarded $481 million to scale up production of COVID-19 test: HHS

(Reuters) – The U.S. government has awarded diagnostic testing company Cue Health Inc $481 million to scale up the production of rapid COVID-19 molecular test, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday.

The company will raise the domestic production of COVID-19 test kits to 100,000 per day by March 2021 under the deal and deliver 6 million tests and 30,000 instruments to the government to support its response to the pandemic, the health agency said.

The point-of-care test can detect the novel coronavirus in about 20 minutes with nasal swab samples collected using a Sample Wand from the lower part of the nose, the HHS said.

The system also allows results to be sent to a mobile phone via an app.

The company’s test kit was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June for emergency use in patient care settings under the supervision of qualified medical personnel.

The development of the company’s health platform was supported by funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for a molecular influenza test, starting in 2018, the department said.

BARDA later expanded the collaboration with the company to include the development of Cue’s COVID-19 test, it added.

(Reporting By Mrinalika Roy and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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Scranton dentist accused of namedropping Trump in deal with feds involving coronavirus test kits – News

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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:05:26 19:36:52


Scranton dentist Dr. Albert Hazzouri loves dropping the name of his friend, President Donald Trump, in the course of doing business.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Hazzouri tried to get the federal government to buy coronavirus test kits from his associates. Hazzouri mentioned his Trump connection when he encountered resistance, the newspaper reported.

Two years ago, Hazzouri alluded to his Trump friendship as he sought a Florida dental license before state regulators.

Repeated efforts to reach Hazzouri on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Citing unnamed sources involved with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s operations, The New York Times reported Hazzouri repeatedly called FEMA officials and a separate team of Trump administration volunteers working on procurement. He wanted to help facilitate the purchase of about 100,000 kits from Mexico.

Hazzouri, 64, also mentioned his friendship with Trump while trying to obtain a license to practice in Florida.

During a May 2018 dental board meeting, Hazzouri said he frequently visits Florida and Trump wanted him to be able to treat the president, his family and guests.

“I’m personal friends, we talk often, I’ll be seeing him next week. He knows I’m here today,” Hazzouri told the dental board, according to a meeting recording available online.

Hazzouri, who specializes in cosmetic dentistry, also told the dental board he wanted to open a practice that also served veterans, Native Americans, pregnant women, children and the less fortunate.

“I didn’t go down there and say ‘change the rules for me,’ ” Hazzouri told a Times-Tribune reporter in May 2018.

A letter to the Florida dental board identified Hazzouri as Trump’s dentist. In an interview with The Times-Tribune, Hazzouri acknowledged he wasn’t the president’s dentist and faulted his staff for mistakenly sending the letter identifying him that way.

The dental board told him he had not taken a required state dental board exam and never provided proof of his dental education and knowledge of CPR.

Hazzouri withdrew his application for the Florida license, and does not have one, online state records show.

Trump and Hazzouri’s friendship pre-dates Trump’s election.

The dentist, his wife, Lauren, and their daughter attended a New Year’s Eve 2015 gala at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. On her Facebook page, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, has highlighted the work of Lauren Hazzouri, a licensed psychologist.

As he ran for president, Trump mentioned his relationship with Hazzouri during a July 27, 2016, rally at Lackawanna College. He noted he knew some of the people present and called out for his friend.

“Stand up, Albert; where the hell are you, Albert? Stand up, Albert,” Mr. Trump shouted.

Hazzouri stood up and waved.

“He’s a good golfer, but I’m actually a better golfer than him, right?” Mr. Trump said.

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Army Combat Fitness Test

The SDC is a test of strength, endurance, and anaerobic capacity, which are needed to accomplish high intensity combat tasks that last from a few seconds to several minutes.

Starting position
On the command “GET SET,” one Soldier in each lane will assume the prone position with the top of the head behind the start line. The grader is positioned to see both the start line and the 25m line. The grader can position a Soldier/battle buddy on the 25m line to ensure compliance with test event standards.

On the command “GO,” Soldiers stand and sprint 25m; touch the 25m line with foot and hand; turn and sprint back to the start line. If the Soldier fails to touch the 25m line with hand and foot, the grader watching the 25m turn line will call them back.

Soldiers will grasp each strap handle, which will be positioned and resting on the sled behind the start line; pull the sled backwards until the entire sled crosses the 25m line; turn the sled around and pull back until the entire sled crosses the start line. If the entire sled does not cross the 25m or start line, the grader watching the 25m turn line will call them back.

After the entire sled crosses the start line, the Soldier will perform a lateral for 25m, touch the 25m turn line with foot and hand, and perform the lateral back to the start line. The Soldier will face the same direction moving back to the 25m start line and returning to the start line so they lead with each foot. If the Soldier fails to touch the 25m turn line with hand and foot, the grader watching the 25m turn line will call them back. Graders will correct Soldiers if they cross their feet.

Soldiers will grasp the handles of the two 40-pound kettlebells and run to the 25m turn line; step on or over the 25m turn line with one foot; turn and run back to the start line. If the Soldier drops the kettlebells during movement, the carry will resume from the point the kettlebells were dropped. If the Soldier fails to touch the 25m turn line with their foot, the grader watching the 25m turn line will call them back.

After stepping on/over the start line, Soldiers will place the kettlebells on the ground; turn and sprint 25m; touch the 25m turn line with foot and hand; turn and sprint back to the start line. If the Soldier fails to touch the 25m turn line with hand and foot, the grader watching the 25m turn line will call them back.

The time is stopped when the Soldier crosses the start line after the final sprint (250 meters).

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