With the coronavirus pandemic rising daily around the globe, the question of testing or the lack of testing has been at the top of many minds in the United States. While NBA players, celebrities, and reportedly the president have no trouble getting tests, normal citizens are looking for answers and their chance to test.
While government officials have urged people not to focus on being tested unless they feel unwell, many are still looking for that comfort to know they aren't carrying the disease around. The situation has left some enterprising companies or startups to create their own tests for home use. Carbon Health and Nurx have created their own testing kit to help fill the gaps according to TMZ and are just one of many that have done similar.
1/ Today we are introducing the first #COVID19 home testing and online consultation service. We’re eager to safely connect people with certain symptoms and risk factors with testing and medical care. https://t.co/w6xPsubh9S— nurx (@nurxapp) March 20, 2020
Both Carbon Health and Nurx tests will work in similar ways. The companies will deliver swab collection kits to patients, customers will provide the sample before sending it back to the lab for testing. Neither company is calling their test foolproof or without error, so they are offering doctor consultation to ensure patient's tests are analyzed correctly.
Nurx's statement noted they were in partnership with Molecular Testing Labs and had success in the past with home tests for HIV, HPV, and STIs. The process also seems similar to those customers may have seen with DNA testing from 23 and Me.
These tests are not free, though. Carbon Health will cost patients $167.50 per test and Nurx is higher per test at $181.
Proud to be the first healthcare provider to offer in-home #COVID19— Carbon Health (@CarbonHealth) March 20, 2020
Test Kits. They're available to eligible patients in CA who have completed our free online assessment and have been deemed eligible by our medical team👨⚕️👩⚕️. Hoping to expand nationally. https://t.co/Xt3S5oLdAu
Austin company Everylywell has also announced its own home test for COVID-19, announcing that 30,000 tests will start and be available by Monday, March 23. This test will need to prescribed by a doctor, with telemedicine doctors analyzing a questionnaire sent in by potential patients to determine if they need the test. For now, the test will cost $135 and will be covered by HSA and FSA providers. They also claimed they've reached out to local and federal health departments to get the test available for free.
While the FDA has not approved any home tests for use at this point, news has broken that they did approve a "point-of-care" test that can give results within 45 minutes. Despite that good news, a home test is enticing for many companies. With more companies ramping up testing and trying to pick up the slack around the nation, we may soon know just how far the virus has spread.