The FDA last week gave emergency use authorization to the first antigen test, which produces results rapidly and can be used in hospitals or doctor’s offices. Antigen tests are generally simpler and cheaper than the PCR approach used for the majority of coronavirus tests now on the market, which hunt for the virus’ genetic material.
Giroir’s answers did not satisfy the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who slammed the Trump administration’s response to the virus. “This administration has had a record of giving us broken promises that more tests and supplies are coming and they don’t,” she said.
Giroir skirted questions from Murray about whether the administration would include hard numbers and targets in a strategic testing plan required by the CARES Act stimulus package. But he said testing needs would increase as the country eased its coronavirus lockdown.
“We expect those targets to go up as we progressively open,” Giroir said. “Certainly, those numbers will need to go up significantly again in the fall when we potentially have influenza circulating with Covid,” he added.