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Pentagon Awards $136.7m Contract for Domestic Production of Material Critical for Rapid Covid-19 Tests

COVID-19 tests have been in short supply in the U.S. as the spread of the highly-transmissible omicron variant has driven a surge in cases.
Pentagon awards $136.7M contract for domestic production of material critical for rapid COVID-19 tests
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The Hill

The Department of Defense (DOD) announced on Wednesday that it was awarding a $136.7 million contract to the Merck-owned brand MilliporeSigma for the domestic production of a material critical for COVID-19 rapid point-of-care tests.

In a statement, the DOD said the contract — awarded on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services — will go toward the production of nitrocellulose membrane in the U.S. Nitrocellulose membrane is a key material for the production of rapid coronavirus tests.

“This industrial base expansion effort will allow MilliporeSigma to establish a nitrocellulose manufacturing capability in its Sheboygan, Wisconsin facility to support more than 83.3 million tests per month for COVID-19 testing and future needs,” said the DOD.

“With this agreement, MilliporeSigma will construct a state-of-the-art lateral flow membrane production facility that will give our invitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturing customers greater flexibility and security of supply of our Hi-Flow™ Plus lateral flow membranes,” said Matthias Heinzel, a member of Merck’s executive board.

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