As we near the end of the year, COVID-19 cases have seen a worrisome surge nationwide. Recently, we discovered that our favorite bulk retailer (AKA Costco) has started to carry at-home coronavirus tests. And now: the FDA has approved their first home COVID-19 test — though most Americans probably will not get it before next spring. With an abundance of misinformation surrounding the pandemic, it’s completely understandable to question the legitimacy of the rapid tests. Here’s what you need to know.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization at-home COVID-19 test that will cost about $50 and deliver results in 30 minutes or less.
Per the FDA, “While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home. This new testing option is an important diagnostic advancement to address the pandemic and reduce the public burden of disease transmission.”
So how does this differ from the tests Costco has on their shelves?
Costco’s RT-PCR test was authorized in May (updated in October) by the FDA for Emergency Use. They became available at Costco from telemedicine company AZOVA, which allows you to collect your own samples and get results within 24-72 hours from their lab (through their HIPAA-secure app).
This FDA approved test comes from the brand Lucira Health. Though most Americans shouldn’t plan on receiving the kits anytime soon.
According to USA Today, Lucira’s COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit will be limited to patients at Sutter Health in Northern California and Cleveland Clinic Florida in Miami-Fort Lauderdale until next spring. And when the tests are available to the public, they’re only administered to those who have symptoms and a health provider’s referral.
The Lucira test has been approved for those aged 14-and-up who are suspected of having COVID-19.
Each kit will be packed with a device, vial, and swab, and requires two AA batteries. To get accurate results, you’ll swab in each nostril five times, stirs in a vial, and then presses the sample into the device.
To get your results, the device will light either positive or negative results on the display once completed.
As of now, USA Today reported that the test has been validated by comparing performance to another FDA authorized test in a group of more than 100 people. The at-home test correctly identified the virus in 94.1 percent of samples detected by the unidentified comparative test and accurately reported negative results in 98 percent of samples.
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Before you go, check out our favorite face masks to keep kids safe in the pandemic: