Americans have a new program to ensure they’ll have access to the best available COVID-19 treatments if they become seriously ill. Announced by the Biden-Harris Administration on March 8, the nationwide Test to Treat Initiative provides those who test positive for COVID-19 and are at a high risk of developing a severe form of the disease with fast, easy access to the appropriate treatment.
The program, run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), involves hundreds of local pharmacy-based clinics and federally-qualified community health centers (FHQCs) where people can be assessed by a qualified health care provider who can prescribe them antiviral pills for the coronavirus right away, all at a single location. Residents of long-term care facilities will also have access to the same on-the-spot assessment and antiviral prescription. In addition to being tested on-site, people can also bring the results of at-home tests to Test to Treat locations to receive a prescription and treatment if eligible, HHS adds.
HHS is providing a direct allocation of antiviral pills, which include Merck’s molnupiravir and Pfizer’s Paxlovid, to all participating facilities, centers, and clinics. This supply is separate from the amount of antiviral pills states and territories already receive, so it won’t impact existing allocation protocols, the department says.
According to an HHS press release, the department plans to add more Test to Treat sites as the program expands and aims to soon launch a website for the program allowing people to find the location nearest them.