With the need for nasal swabs for COVID-19 tests growing, the United States Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Defense (DoD) have awarded $11.6 million to Puritan Medical Products Company, LLC to expand the domestic production capacity of Cue Sample Wands.
This contract will allow Puritan to speed along upgrades to its Maine facility and bring its nasal swab production to 3 million per month by March 2021. The Cue Sample Wands are meant specifically for the cartridge-based molecular testing system developed and manufactured by Cue Health, Inc. That test allows turnaround results in approximately 20 minutes.
This latest award builds on previous expansion contracts awarded to Puritan. In July, the government pumped in $51.51 million to establish the production facility in Maine and increase the production capacity of flock-tip swabs to at least another 45 million swabs per month by March 2021. Puritan is the only U.S. based manufacturer of flock-tip swabs. In April, $75.5 million was awarded to Puritan to increase its production of non-proprietary foam specimen collection swabs to 20 million swabs per month by July.
This latest award was funded by the Health Care Enhancement Act. It will support the Cue COVID-19 Test, which received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June. As to Cue, the federal government has procured 6 million test kits and began a pilot distribution of those kits earlier this month. So far, HHS has shipped 27,000 test kits to five states.