October 8, 2021 – ISSAQUAH, WA – Today Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to issue an executive order to streamline the process for approving rapid, at-home COVID tests. So far, the U.S. has approved eight tests, with only three tests currently available for purchase, compared to 36 in the UK and 34 in Germany.
In her letter, Rep. Schrier said, “While I hope to see even more tests authorized in the coming weeks and months, we need a plan now to bridge the gap until supply can meet demand. The most efficient way to ramp up supply is to provide access to the dozens of tests that have already received approval from an equally rigorous approval process. The European Union has recognized 138 rapid antigen tests that provide accurate results… I urge your Administration to make more tests available in the United States by issuing an executive order providing an expedited approval pathway that recognizes tests already approved in the European Union.”
Rep. Schrier has been pushing for more than a year to make rapid tests more available on the market. In March, at Rep. Schrier’s urging, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put forward an Emergency Use Authorization Template to help streamline approval of rapid antigen tests. It is this EUA template that allowed the new FlowFlextest to be approved earlier this week.
Rep. Schrier continued, “Right now, to test the over 50 million K-12 students in America two times a week, we need over 100 million tests- a week. This means, for a full school year, we need over 4 billion tests. And that does not factor in higher education or take into consideration other congregate settings, employer based testing or private sector use.”
The news this week of FlowFlex’s approval and the Biden Administration’s purchase of 180 million more tests will allow more tests to be on the market soon. But there is still work to be done, and that can be done singularly by President Biden, to make more tests available to Americans who want to test themselves before work, school, or going out to eat.