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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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‘I’m Either at the Bottom of the Scale or Free’

In his first on-camera interview since he tested positive for the coronavirus, President Donald Trump told Fox News he was confident that even though he had not received results from it, his retest for the disease showed that he was on the mend.



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, North Carolina on July 27, 2020. He has said he has been tested again for COVID-19 but has not got the results.


© JIM WATSON/Getty Images
President Donald Trump at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, North Carolina on July 27, 2020. He has said he has been tested again for COVID-19 but has not got the results.

Appearing remotely from the White House, his appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight included questions and what was dubbed a medical evaluation of Dr. Marc Siegel.

The segment was introduced by Carlson who said that “by any measure, it’s been a remarkable turnaround,” and that after rumors that Trump had been “very sick” on Saturday, by Monday “he seemed essentially himself.”

After explaining that it was a White House film crew and not one from Fox News filming the president, Carlson threw to the pre-recorded segment in which Siegel started by asking the president how he felt.

Describing it as the “China virus,” Trump replied: “I feel really good, I feel very strong.”

When asked what the main symptoms were when he went into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump said that he “didn’t have a problem with breathing, which a lot of people seem to have.

However, his personal physician, Sean Conley, had said that early on during treatment, the president had been given supplemental oxygen.

Trump continued: “I didn’t feel very vital, I didn’t feel like the president of the U.S. should feel.” He then said that when in hospital he “tired” but that “I got lucky with a certain medicine,” going on to say that after taking Regeneron, “within a period of 24 hours I felt very different.

“I think I could have left the hospital a lot earlier,” Trump said, before adding, “right now, I am medication free.”

Siegel asked: “I heard you said you were going to test again today, have you been retested?” Without revealing when the procedure had taken place, Trump replied: “I have been retested and I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet.”

If someone has a COVID-19 test in the hospital, they will usually get the result the same day, according to Medical News Today.

Trump continued: “But I’ve been retested and I know I’m either at the bottom of the scale or free” he added, although almost all Covid tests register only a binary positive or negative result, and even a small viral load would likely mean a positive test.

‘Get Out There’: Trump Removes Face Mask For Photo Op As He Returns To White House

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An unclear or inconclusive result means it’s not possible to say if you had coronavirus when the test was done, according to the NHS website.

On Saturday, Trump is expected to hold his first official public event since his coronavirus diagnosis at an event on the White House