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Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said Sunday that the US will need a breakthrough in testing to help screen large numbers of people.

The US is continuing to scale coronavirus testing, “but at the same time, we have to realize that we have to have a breakthrough innovation in testing,” she said on NBC.

“We have to be able to detect antigen, rather than constantly trying to detect the actual live virus, or the viral particles itself,” Birx added.

Birx was referring to a type of testing technology – antigen testing – that is often used for rapid flu tests.

In a separate interview on CNN, Birx emphasized how the administration has been working in the last week to increase testing capacity – both by increasing usage in labs and by making sure governors are aware of all of the facilities available in their states.

“For every lab, though, they’re now – they now have six or seven platforms that they have to integrate and utilize. And labs are learning now how to bring all of those platforms up to hopefully double and increase our testing ability across the country, and to really align the needs,” Birx told CNN. “There’s capacity, that tests are not being run. And I think ensuring that they have the swabs, ensuring that they have the tubes to transport the swabs in, and then ensuring that all the laboratory platforms are up and running, and that’s the information we gave to the governors.”


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