July 31, 2020
DOD Announces Contract for 250,000 Curative Inc. COVID-19 Test Kits
On July 31, the Department of Defense awarded a $42 million contract to Curative Inc. to provide 250,000 Curative Inc. oral fluid swab test kits to military treatment facilities, thus expanding the department's COVID-19 testing capability.
In addition to test kits, the CARES Act-funded contract with Curative Inc. provides for end-to-end testing operations. This includes testing at Curative's high throughput lab, laboratory validation studies, personnel training, custom software integrations with electronic health records, shipping, and test results.
"This is an important capability that will strengthen our medical professionals' ability to detect, isolate and defeat the spread of COVID-19 across the military," said Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, the DOD's COVID-19 Lab Testing Task Force lead. "The ability to reliably test service members and their families is critical towards securing our forces' health and readiness."
Under the contract, test kits and associated support will be provided to more than 100 military treatment facilities across the DOD in a manner that addresses medically urgent and emergent needs.
"It's no coincidence we had the right innovation network in place to source and scale this test at battlefield speeds," said Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. "Evolving national security challenges require new and enduring partnerships with commercial innovators. We had the right people and mechanisms in place to move out on this exceptional testing capability for the Department of Defense."
Curative's oral fluid sample collection method is less invasive than other methods of COVID-19 testing, which require the insertion of a cotton swab far into the nasal passage. The test is also self-administered, meaning healthcare workers observe and guide patients through the sample collection process from a distance. This significantly decreases both the demand placed on frontline staff and the need for frequent changing of personal protective equipment.
To collect a sample for testing, the patient is first instructed to cough three times, releasing particles from the upper and lower respiratory tract into the patient's saliva. The patient then swabs the inside of the mouth and seals the swab in a secure container for laboratory processing. Results are made available to patients via an electronic medical record within 2-3 calendar days.
The contract, executed by the Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office and coordinated through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment's Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), follows a demonstration of Curative's testing method at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, where approximately 7,800 joint active duty personnel were tested over a three-day period in June.
"Our acquisition professionals have been instrumental in scaling this capability from the Air Force to the DOD," said Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, director of the Department of the Air Force Acquisition COVID-19 Task Force (DAF ACT). "I'm proud of the speed and agility by which they've matched capabilities with requirements every step of the way, securing solutions for our nation."
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