U.S. company Everlywell has announced the first home testing kit for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the country. With testing rolling out at a worryingly slow pace across the States, the Austin-based Everlywell hopes their new kit will help diagnose more cases by allowing easier access and letting people do so without leaving their homes.
Time reports that Everlywell will have their test available from March 23 onwards. Initially, tests could only be conducted at state and local public health labs, with kits provided by the Centers for Disease Control. However, that has since changed, and now that private companies are allowed to create test kits, Everlywell has become the first to do so in the country. The company has previously created similar validated tests for things such as STDs, fertility, and cholesterol levels.
The test can be ordered on Everlywell's website now, but customers will have to answer some questions about their health before doing so. From there, a doctor will prescribe the test, with telemedicine doctors from PWNHealth determining whether these customers qualify for the tests. If they do need to take the test, it will set them back $135 and will be sent to them within two days. It will come with a swab that will allow patients to take samples from their nose and throat, and instructions on how to seal the sample and send it back to the company. FDA-approved labs will then receive the samples within 72 hours.
Results will be sent to customers by text and email, and doctors will offer advise if they need to self-isolate until they receive them. Telemedicine consultation will be offered if the results come back positive. Everlywell currently has 30,000 of these tests ready to ship, and are planning to expand within the coming weeks. "We’re working hard to ramp up weekly capacity to test 250,000 Americans,” the company's CEO Julia Cheek, explained.
COVID-19 tests aren't being conducted on a big scale in the United States at the moment, so doctors have been trying to rule out other diseases that target the respiratory system first. The U.S. currently has 10,810 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 160 deaths as of Thursday, March 19.