U.S. Company Says First At-Home Coronavirus Test Will Be Available March 23

An American company has recently announced that they will have the very first at-home coronavirus test kits ready for consumers by March 23, People reported.

Everlywell, a company which offers more than 30 different home testing kits, released a statement confirming the COVID-19 kits will be ready for purchase by Monday.

Earlier this month the company launched a $1 million incentive for the development of the at-home coronavirus test.

The reward was offered to "any certified laboratories who fulfilled requirements set by the FDA and Everlywell to prioritize development of a COVID-19 diagnostic test."

In just a matter of days, the company was able to put together these testing kits which will soon become available to consumers for the first time ever.

People who are experiencing symptoms can request the test kit online.

Unsplash | Annie Spratt

They will have to complete a screening questionnaire with a telehealth physician from PWNHealth, who will then review the request and rule out all other respiratory diseases.

Once the applicant is approved, they can purchase the kit for $135 directly through the Everlywell website. This price includes cost of materials, transport, laboratory fees, operation, and telehealth support.

The company said they will not profit from these sales, which "will be covered by participating HSA and FSA providers.”

Test kit recipients will receive everything they need to collect a sample at home.

As Everlywell explained,

“Samples will be shipped to partner labs with overnight delivery, secure digital results will be available online within 48 hours of the lab receiving the sample, and free telehealth consultations with an independent, board-certified physician will be available for those with positive results."

To conduct the test, people will be required to use the long swab to take a sample from the back of the nose and throat area, and also provide both spit and sputum samples as backups.

The company said 30,000 test kits are ready to be shipped, and they plan to produce even more in the coming weeks.

“Given the high demand for testing, the company will work rapidly to make more tests available as the global supply shortage for COVID-19 diagnostic kits is addressed,” Everlywell explained. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help stop the spread of coronavirus.”

They added that their hope is to eventually “have testing and diagnosis capacity for a quarter of a million people weekly.”

Experts have been calling for alternative means of testing for coronavirus and have emphasized the need for at-home kits.

This would not only increase collection volume, but would also lower the risk of infection for front-line medical staff, too.

In an interview with Tech Crunch about the accuracy of their home tests, Everlywell confirmed this collection method has been validated by "a number of peer-reviewed medical studies."

American is currently experiencing a COVID-19 testing shortage.

YouTube | Post and Courier

This is due to a lack of medical supplies, such as swabs, which is why Everlywell's kits only come with one swab at this time, and why kits are being limited to one per household.

“Our goal is to continue to refresh capacity but with the global swab shortage, we don’t have a confirmed timeline for that yet,” the company's CEO and founder Julia Cheek told TIME.

Several other startups have launched at-home testing kits for COVID-19, but the FDA is cautioning eager consumers of these seemingly ideal opportunities.

Although convenient, at-home test kits are not without their disadvantages. For example, consumers will have to take a nasopharyngeal swab themselves. Earlier this week, President Trump said this means of collecting a sample is "a little bit difficult" and "not very nice to do."

As Geek Wire reported, the FDA is advising concerned people to first discuss their symptoms with their health care provider before deciding which avenue of testing to pursue.

Information about the coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing and Diply is committed to providing the most recent data as it becomes available. Some of the information in this story may have changed since publication, and we encourage readers to use online resources from CDC and WHO to stay up to date on the latest information surrounding COVID-19.

h/t: People, TIME

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