24 August

US Department of Defense (DOD) undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment Ellen Lord has revealed plans to transition the capabilities of the Covid-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) into the existing Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC). JATF was raised to support other government agencies to meet their requirements using the DOD’s acquisition enterprise. Lord said: “What we are doing is we are taking all of our learnings from what we have done with the JATF and we are reducing that to a playbook that can respond to any type of federal emergency where acquisition and sustainment support is needed.”

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been approached to build two 500-bed makeshift Covid Care Hospitals in Patna and Muzaffarpur in the Indian state of Bihar. The development is funded under the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES). Out of the two facilities, the one in Patna will be inaugurated today. Each hospital will feature 125 ICU beds with ventilators and 375 normal beds. Armed Forces Medical Services Doctors will be responsible for providing doctors and support staff.

The Defense Production Act (DPA) has been used by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for ‘priority rated contracts’ with Becton Dickinson (BD) and Quidel. The order will accelerate the delivery of diagnostic systems and assays for Covid-19 testing to every nursing home certified by CMS with CLIA Certificate of Waiver. These tests are capable of diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection in around 15 minutes. Health and Covid-19 Testing Assistant Secretary coordinator Admiral Brett Giroir said: “We are invoking the priority rating of the Defense Production Act to expedite shipments of instruments and antigen tests to give nursing homes the ability to perform these rapid tests.”