BETHLEHEM, Pa. - OraSure Technologies has been awarded a $205 million contract from a federal defense agency for the use of its rapid COVID-19 test.

The Defense Logistics Agency, under the Department of Defense, awarded the year-long contract from October 2021 through September 2022, according to a news release.

OraSure, a Bethlehem-based maker of medical diagnostic tests, will provide the InteliSwab rapid test to up to 25,000 sites across the United States, and the tests will be funded by the federal government.

InteliSwab has users self-collect a sample from the lower nostrils, then shows results on the test stick within 30 minutes, with no instruments, batteries or lab analysis needed. It has three Emergency Use Authorizations from the FDA -- for professional point-of-care use, prescription home use and over-the-counter use.

OraSure expects significant manufacturing and operating expenses through the rest of 2021, and most of the revenue with the contract is expected in 2022.

President and CEO of OraSure, Dr. Stephen Tang, says the deal had about a five-day turnaround. The rise of the delta variant has kept up the need for rapid-at home testing.

"Up until the pandemic OraSure had sold about 80 million oraquick tests in our entire company's history. Right now, we're poised to make 120 million units per year – every single year," Tang said.

The tests deliver results in about 30 minutes and are available at Walmart and Walgreens.

The company has expanded rapidly to meet demand but, like everyone else, needs manpower.

"We're hiring folks first shift, second shift, maybe even third shift," Tang said.

"All of our products are made in the Bethlehem facility but it's a very competitive environment. We compete with a lot of the manufacturers and warehousing operations."

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