HHS and the U.S. Department of Defense on Wednesday signed an agreement under which the agencies will continue collaborating over the next two years to address the pandemic and future public health emergencies.
As part of their alliance, the DOD said it recently awarded $650 million to several companies to expand COVID-19 testing for elementary schools, underserved populations, and congregate settings such as homeless shelters.
The agreement means the two agencies will work to expand domestic industrial capacity of health and medical resources, procure diagnostics and medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile, and accelerate the development, manufacture, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
Specifically, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, through the Defense Assisted Acquisition Cell, will review assisted acquisition requests from HHS, determine which acquisition authorities and resources are best suited to support the efforts, and execute agreements with industry to fulfill the defined requirements, the DOD said.
The agreement will remain in effect until at least Sept. 30, 2023.
The DOD said it has handled over $26 billion in funding on behalf of the HHS including a $231.8 million contract for an at-home COVID test.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, 360Dx, which provides in-depth coverage of in vitro diagnostics and the clinical lab market.