The US Food and Drug Administration, better known as the FDA, has announced that it has authorized the first at-home testing kit for COVID-19. The testing kit is made by LabCorp, a diagnostics company which is saying that it will prioritize testing for health care workers and first responders.
Under normal circumstances it would have taken much longer for the COVID-19 testing kit to be approved, but given the scale and severity of the coronavirus outbreak, the FDA has granted the testing kit an Emergency Use Authorization. The kit allows eligible individuals to self administer a nasal swab to collect a sample. The sample is then posted to a LabCorp facility for testing, so it’s not a completely “at-home” testing kit, but it does significantly reduce the risk of transmitting the disease and exposing healthcare professionals to potentially infected individuals, since no one else has to be present for the test collection.
In a statement on its website, LabCorp CEO Adam Schechter said: “Our at-home collection kits are designed to make it easier and safer to test healthcare workers and first responders during this important time.”
The kits will be made available via LabCorp’s Pixel online testing platform, which is already used to send out at-home testing kits for various diseases and health conditions, including anemia and diabetes, alongside general health and blood tests. In essence, these testing kits work similarly to DNA testing kits and genealogy kits. You simply follow the instructions, swab your nose for a sample, and then send the test kit back to the lab for analysis. Results are made available online.
The COVID-19 at-home testing kit will cost $119 when it goes on sale, and as we stated before, it will only be available to first responders and health care professionals to begin with, though it will be made available to everyone further down the line.