The BD antigen test delivers results in 15 minutes on a portable instrument. PRNewsfoto/BD (Becton, Dickinson)

Governors from Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia have joined Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in a bipartisan interstate compact with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of rapid response antigen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19.

By banding together, the states demonstrate demand to scale up the tests’ production, which delivers results in 15-20 minutes. The states are in discussions with Becton Dickinson and Quidel — the U.S. manufacturers of antigen tests that the FDA has already authorized — to purchase 500,000 tests per state, for a total of three million tests.

With the purchase of the tests, states expect to ramp up the use of rapid antigen testing to detect outbreaks more quickly and expand long-term testing at schools, workplaces, and nursing homes. The states will coordinate on policies and protocols regarding rapid antigen testing technology.

The Rockefeller Foundation will facilitate financing mechanisms to support this large-scale interstate testing pact.

“With severe shortages and delays in testing and the federal administration attempting to cut funding for testing, the states are banding together to acquire millions of faster tests to help save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Hogan in a statement. “I want to thank my fellow governors for signing on to this groundbreaking bipartisan agreement, which we have just finalized after weeks of discussions with the Rockefeller Foundation. We will be working to bring additional states, cities, and local governments on board as this initiative moves forward.”

Additional states, cities, and local governments may join the agreement in the coming days and weeks. Governor Hogan negotiated the pact in his final days as chair of the National Governors Association.