HHS to expand Covid testing opportunities under new initiative

February 19, 2021

As part of the Biden Administration’s effort to expand Covid-19 testing, HHS is seeking labs who can assist in expanding testing to K-8 schools and underserved populations in the coming months.

The goal of the effort is to ensure schools remain open by “establishing three or four direct hubs or ‘coordinating centers’ to organize COVID-19 laboratory testing networks to increase testing capacity,” according to a call for interested parties emailed out by HHS earlier this week.

According to HHS, the following types of entities may be eligible to become a coordinating center:

  1. test manufacturers
  2. commercial or academic laboratories
  3. any non-profit group that is organized on a local, state, or national level; and
  4. laboratory services companies.

Once the centers are established, they will partner with up to 36 labs to collect specimens, perform tests and report results for up to an additional 25 million tests per month, HHS said. A “few small-to-medium” commercial labs will also be engaged to provide testing at the local level and provide assistance in the event of a testing surge.

For questions regarding this initiative, or to submit a letter of interest in becoming a coordinating center or supporting lab, you may email the HHS Testing and Diagnostic Working Group at COVID-Testing-RFI@hhs.gov.

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