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HHS invests $6.5 million in diagnostic labs to expand COVID-19 testing

(Reuters) - The U.S. government is investing $6.5 million in two diagnostic laboratories to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity and perform an additional 1 million tests each week by early October.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Thursday the funding would enable the selected companies - Aegis Sciences Corp and Sonic Healthcare USA, a unit of Sonic Healthcare Ltd - expand capacity by increasing staffing and infrastructure.

HHS said it expects the labs to be able to conduct up to 4 million additional COVID-19 tests per month.

Adequate diagnostic testing and faster processing are crucial in the United States, which leads the world in COVID-19 deaths. The country has reported more than 166,000 deaths so far and at least 5 million coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters tally.

Beckman Coulter Life Sciences and Thermo Fisher Scientific will provide the labs with essential equipment needed to optimize their workflow.

Reporting By Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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