Coronavirus Home Tests: How They Work, What They Cost, and How Accurate They Are

The shortage of COVID-19 tests has become an ongoing problem in the U.S. The shortages of test kits and testing supplies, combined with lack of access to physical testing sites, contributed to the lack of coronavirus testing nationwide and the spread of infection throughout the country. Even now, with improved testing infrastructure, experts say we’re still not testing enough to contain the spread of the virus.

In response, both startups and established companies have created an influx of home COVID testing kits on the market, bolstered by the FDA’s authorization to make these tests available for emergency use. At present, there are about 12 home testing options, and a recent article in Health magazine went through six of them: Everlywell, Hims & Hers, Pixel by LabCorp, Phosphorous, Vault, and Vitagene.

Here’s how the test from Hims & Hers works: It begins with a screening process in which patients enter relevant medical information, including any symptoms, into an online intake form. A medical professional reviews the information and virtually connects with patients to determine whether or not they need to do an at-home kit. Currently, only people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for the company’s at-home test.

Collection requires a saliva sample. The test kit sent to eligible patients by Hims & Hers includes everything needed to collect and return the test to the lab for analysis. The results will be available in a patient’s Hims & Hers online account in 3 to 5 days, and a medical provider gets in touch with patients regarding next steps. Those recommendations are based on currently accepted guidelines and could include anything from self-isolation to seeking in-person care.

A recent study by Stanford Medicine showed that at-home test kits are just as accurate as those administered by medical professionals. However, experts recommend that people who test positive for COVID-19 with at-home tests receive a confirmatory lab test and maintain home isolation.

Read the original article here.

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