(Reuters) – Hologic Inc on Wednesday said it is launching a second COVID-19 test that will help to dramatically expand testing capabilities in the United States.

The molecular assay to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus will run on its Panther system.

Beginning next week, the company will distribute three million tests to around 1,000 hospitals and public health labs nationwide.

Hologic launched its first COVID-19 test on March 16, however, this new test runs on the much more prevalent and available system and could help to alleviate backlogs and get more people tested, the company said. 

The medical device maker said currently 1.5 million to 2 million tests can be run in the U.S. per week, and the new device will deliver three million high-throughput molecular tests immediately.

(Reporting By Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)