Gardner’s comprehensive bill bolsters U.S. diagnostic testing for infectious diseases

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on July 2 introduced sweeping bipartisan legislation to strengthen health preparedness efforts in the United States.

Sen. Gardner sponsored the Timely and Effective Systematic Testing (TEST) Act, S. 4163, with original cosponsor U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), to require a national plan for diagnostic testing and public health system integration for better detecting infectious diseases, preventing outbreaks and avoiding future economic shutdowns related to pandemics, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Gardner’s office.

“In order to fully beat the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be able to rapidly and accurately see where the illness is and is not,” Sen. Gardner said. “The TEST Act provides the key components of detecting and preventing outbreaks.”

Sen. Gardner, who worked with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb to develop the legislation, said the proposed bill aims “to enhance our capability to contain COVID-19 and improve our capacity to respond to future outbreaks.”

If enacted, S. 4163 would integrate existing disease detection systems and expand federal capability to conduct and report rapid and accurate diagnostic tests to better prevent the spread of a disease, and prioritize conducting and reporting on rapid and accurate laboratory tests for diseases within the National Health Security Strategy, according to the bill summary.

Additionally, the bill would provide grants to state and local public health departments to support testing and reporting capacity, and establish congressional oversight to ensure success, among other provisions, according to the summary.

“In order to combat COVID-19 and safely reopen our economy at the same time, we need a nationwide, coordinated system to track cases,” said Sen. Bennet. “The TEST Act would help integrate local and federal reporting systems by breaking down current silos to better monitor COVID-19 cases and virus outbreaks.”

The bill is supported by the American Society for Microbiology, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Travel Association, the International Franchise Association, the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, and the National Retail Federation, among others.


By: Ripon Advance News Service

Ripon Advance