Amid a nationwide shortage of testing for the Covid-19 virus, a digital health company plans to launch a test people can take at home early next week.
Austin, Texas-based Everlywell Health said Wednesday that it planned to launch its at-home test for the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2, on Monday. The initial supply will include 30,000 tests.
People who are feeling symptoms of Covid-19 can apply online to receive the testing kit, which contains all the supplies they will need to collect a sample at home and then safely ship it to a CLIA-certified laboratory partner. The company said that all of the labs working with it are operating in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization for Covid-19 testing. The test costs $135 and can be paid for with health and flex savings accounts, with no profit going to Everlywell.
After submitting samples, results are posted securely online within 48 hours of the lab receiving them, and consumers who receive positive results can obtain free telehealth consultations with independent, board-certified physicians.
“As the Covid-19 public health emergency continues to worsen with community spread across the United States, there is an unmet need to broaden the access to testing for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in a responsible manner to complement and help alleviate the potential overload on healthcare systems and healthcare providers if testing was only available in the limited clinical setting,” said Frank Ong, Everlywell’s chief medical and scientific officer, in a statement.
Several companies, such as Roche and Thermo Fisher Scientific, have obtained EUAs from the FDA to conduct coronavirus testing, while LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics have also stepped in. At the Coronavirus Task Force’s press briefing Thursday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force’s response coordinator, said the numbers would likely increase significantly as more people were tested. The administration has come under criticism due to the deficiency of tests for the virus, which has spread rapidly around the country and prompted several cities and counties to restrict people’s movement.
More than 236,000 people worldwide were infected with the coronavirus as of Thursday, including 11,274 in the U.S. The global death toll stood at 9,790, including 157 in the U.S., with New York – particularly New York City – now the worst-affected.
Photo: Everlywell Health