News and Commentary

Pence Announces 20 Million Antibody Coronavirus Tests To Be Made Per Month
US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. - Trump on Tuesday warned of a "very painful" two weeks ahead as the United States wrestles with a surge in coronavirus cases.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Monday during the White House Coronavirus Task Force that 20 million antibody tests are now being produced per month, which will likely be a key component to reopening the economy.

“A point that I will ask Dr. Birx to expand on in just a moment is that fact that beyond the new 15-minute tests by Abbott laboratories, beyond what we expect to be, a new antibody test which may well be approved by the FDA in just a matter of days,” Pence said. “An antibody test that would be produced at the rate of 20 million tests a month.”

“The reality is that those commercial laboratories that the president brought in here the better part of two months ago and initiated the public and private partnership with, have been producing hundreds of thousands of tests every single week,” Pence continued. “But as Dr. Birx and our team have apprehended, we believe at this point in time that of the Roche equipment out there that does the high-speed testing, and we informed governors of this today, we think that some 20% of that capacity is not being used. With regard to the Abbott m2000 systems, we told governors today that we think 75% of that laboratory capacity that exists in the United States today is not being utilized by our governors.”

Pence’s comments may refer to Abacus Pharma International (API) which produces a coronavirus anti-body test called “COVID-Rapid.”

NBC Miami reported last week:

The company says it’s a simple blood test that can return results in 15 minutes. They say the accuracy to determine antibodies is 100% for old infection, but it is not designed to diagnose COVID-19.

The company that manufactures it, Abaccus Pharma International, says tens of thousands of tests are currently in a warehouse in Pompano Beach waiting to be distributed. Puerto Rico has already ordered 3 million tests, and the company also plans to donate 10,000 to the city of Miami.

The company says it will have the capacity to make 20 million tests a month.

“We’re excited to be able to contribute,” CEO Vincent DeGennaro said. “This is not about selling tests for us, this is about getting people back to work and helping repair our damaged economy and to try and minimize the impact the disease can have in our community here in Miami.”

Earlier in the press conference, Pence highlighted Dr. Deborah Birx’s efforts in expanding testing capabilities nationwide

“Dr. Birx has been leading an effort for the task force from early-on on rapidly expanding testing. It was early on that the president formed that public-private partnership with commercial labs and as we stand here today more than 2.5 million tests have been performed and when we add in the estimates of labs that we have to assume with reasonable projections have not yet reported into the CDC,” Pence said. “We think that number could be closer to 3 million tests that have been performed. As has been mentioned, the new 15-minute test, we are working closely with Abbott laboratories that the president and our team met with today here at the White House to rapidly increase the availability of cartridges.”

“Abbott is producing roughly 50,000 cartridges a day. FEMA acquired an initial supply of that and distributed those to the states. We are working with the states to not only distribute what’s being made but also work with other suppliers to create additional cartridges,” Pence continued.

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