HealthDay News — While health experts continued to call for a national strategy to test more Americans for coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Monday announced a “blueprint” for boosting testing capacity as some states began reopening their economies.
By Tuesday afternoon, the number of U.S. coronavirus cases passed 1 million while the death toll was almost 56,000, the Washington Post reported. The national guidance says states must develop their own testing plans and rapid-response programs while the White House provides “strategic direction and technical assistance” and helps “align laboratory testing supplies and capacity with existing and anticipated laboratory needs,” the Post reported.
Trump was joined at the media briefing by some major retailers who said they had ramped up both testing and the production of medical supplies. They predicted they would be doubling both their rate of testing and the number of sites that would be available to the public in the next month. Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health, told CBS News that the Trump administration is prepared to send all 50 states enough tests to screen 2 percent of their population per month for the virus, roughly 6.6 million people.
A potential vaccine against the new coronavirus has shown promise and could begin human testing within a few weeks. The vaccine was developed by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and appears to be effective in lab animals. If regulators give approval, a clinical trial involving more than 6,000 people could be launched by the end of May, The New York Times reported.
U.S. National Institutes of Health scientists tested the vaccine on six rhesus macaque monkeys last month and found promising results. Despite being exposed to large amounts of the coronavirus, all of the monkeys were still healthy more than four weeks later. If the human trials go well and the vaccine is approved for use, the Oxford team said they could have a few million doses of the vaccine available by September, far sooner than other vaccine projects, the Times reported.