The Victorian government says it’s securing 50 million rapid antigen tests a year through a partnership that will see the kits made in the state.
The government will partner with industry to build a manufacturing plant, which premier Daniel Andrews says will service the state’s requirements given the kits would be necessary “for quite some time”.
The state’s medical research acceleration fund will help deliver the public-private partnership but Andrews could not reveal the cost, citing it was commercial-in-confidence reasons.
“Subject to TGA approval of this business, this Melbourne business will be able to provide to Victoria for our use 50 million rapid antigen tests each and every year,” he said on Wednesday.
Lumos Diagnostics and Planet Innovation are involved in the deal, which could see the first million rapid antigen tests delivered in April under initial operations involving part assembly and part local production.
Victorian innovation minister Jaala Pulford said manufacturing would then scale up in the third quarter of this year to provide 50 million locally manufactured devices for later in the year.
“Victorians can be very pleased to know that this extraordinary capability exists not too far from home,” Pulford said.
“We are going to have that sovereign capability, that greater level of confidence about supply and it means we can just get on with our lives.”
Andrews said the government would not be cancelling any earlier orders of RATs because of the new deal. “We will amass as many of these as we can,” he said.
The premier said if the state had a surplus it would look to support other states, and was already in discussions with the ACT. “We would look to support those onshore first,” Andrews said.
Lumos Diagnostics is already supplying kits from its Florida-based plant to the Canadian and European markets.