Ellume manufacturing rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits in Maryland

Ellume manufacturing rapid at-home COVID-19 test kits in Maryland

A few months ago, it was nearly impossible to find an at-home COVID-19 test in stores across Maryland. Now, store shelves are stocked with boxes of test kits from different brands.

But it’s not just about COVID-19 at Ellume’s manufacturing plant In Frederick. The large manufacturing facility was built to support the federal government’s response to the current pandemic and future ones.

Hailed as a medical breakthrough a year ago, Ellume’s COVID-19 at-home test kits are rolling off a state-of-the-art assembly line in Frederick, which held its grand opening Thursday.

There are a series of automated and manual assembly rooms inside a sprawling manufacturing campus that the Department of Defense paid $231 million to build.

Officials said the facility is about national security and public health.

“This fully modernized, beautiful 180,000-square-foot facility, once fully operational, will have the capability of producing an incredible 15 million COVID-19 home tests per month,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.

“Because we have these rapid tests, families have been able to safely reunite with each other and see each other throughout this past winter, and it was really the first time in a long time,” Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said.

Australia-based Ellume had the first rapid antigen COVID-19 self-test that received emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration. This is their first plant in the United States.

“They could have gone other places, but they chose Maryland because of our proximity to the nation’s capital and the fact that we’re home to the (National Institutes of Health) and the FDA and other top federal agencies,” Hogan said.

Ellume partnered with federal agencies to stand up the production hub. Officials called it a cornerstone of a sustainable American supply chain to support the response to COVID-19 now and enable a rapid response to large-scale outbreaks and pandemics in the future.

“We will use this facility for this pandemic, obviously, and the next and the next, but also for our seasonal epidemics that occurred and other illnesses, such as flu, strep, (respiratory syncytial virus),” said Dr. Sean Parsons, founder and CEO of Ellume.

The company is actively recruiting with plans to hire 200 people locally to start, and when fully operational, employing 1,500 workers in Frederick.

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