U.S. Company Announces First At-Home Coronavirus Test to Be Available on March 23
The test also comes with a telehealth consultation with a board-certified physician.
This story originally appeared on people.com.
A popular home testing company announced that they will have an at-home coronavirus (COVID-19) test available for consumers by Monday, March 23.
Everlywell said in a statement on Thursday that they launched a $1 million initiative last month to create the COVID-19 tests — among other private companies — and they will become the first to distribute them directly to consumers.
People who are experiencing symptoms of the virus can request the test online by completing a screening questionnaire with a telehealth physician from PWNHealth. The physician will then review the request, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), to rule out other respiratory diseases first.
Once consumers are approved for the test, they can purchase it for $135 on Everlywell’s website. The company said that this will be “no profit to Everlywell, and will be covered by participating HSA and FSA providers.”
“Everlywell has reached out to government officials and public health departments to see if the test can be made available for free,” they said in a statement.
After the test is purchased, it will be shipped to customers with everything needed to collect a sample at home and safely ship it to an FDA-approved laboratory.
“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,” Everlywell said.
In light of the slow rollout of tests in the United States, the home-based tests will significantly help diagnose more cases throughout the country — and since samples will be collected at home, the tests may help prevent further exposure.
Everlywell says it is ready to ship 30,000 COVID-19 tests but plans to produce 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 said. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help stop the spread of coronavirus.”
They said that they hope to have “have testing and diagnosis capacity for a quarter of a million people weekly.”
However, the shortage in testing across the U.S. is in part due to the lack of medical supplies, such as swabs, amid an influx of patients in hospitals due to the virus. For this reason, Everlywell’s tests will only contain one swab for a single test, but the company hopes that it can expand them to household kits with multiple swabs.
“Our goal is to continue to refresh capacity but with the global swab shortage, we don’t have a confirmed timeline for that yet,” Everlywell CEO and founder Julia Cheek told Time.
As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 10,201 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 149 deaths in the U.S., according to a New York Times database.