The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the launch of a $30 million Advance Market Commitment aimed at scaling COVID-19 testing and safely reopening schools, communities, and the economy.
Made through RF Catalytic Capital, the foundation's public charity subsidiary, the investment will provide a financial guarantee and incentive for Thermo Fisher Scientific to procure and strategically stock up to $30 million worth of COVID-19 tests. The tests will be distributed to the twenty-three states participating in Rockefeller's State and Territory Alliance for Testing (STAT), followed by other public and private buyers. The commitment is designed to ensure a ready supply of tests — in some cases at a lower price than states would pay if they were purchasing tests individually — while sending a clear signal to manufacturers to continue to ramp up production.
The initial order of three hundred thousand COVID-19 tests has been purchased for $9 million and sold to states through the facility. As tests are bought and sold, the AMC funds will be replenished, allowing for additional scaling beyond the initial $30 million. In its third National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan, released in December, the foundation suggested that the federal government expand and utilize STAT to centralize procurement, payment, and distribution of all COVID tests and test supplies for U.S. states and territories.
"From the outset of this pandemic, the Rockefeller Foundation has worked to resolve the problems cities and states have faced in stopping the chain of transmission of COVID-19," said Rockefeller Foundation senior vice president Eileen O'Connor. "Continued testing is needed to tell us how long immunity lasts with the vaccine and whether, even if immunized, a person can still transmit the virus. It will also indicate any mutations that arise."
(image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Unsplash)