U.S. health regulators on Tuesday OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could greater help expand testing options in most states and achieving quicker success in registering all cases.
What We Know:
- The test from LabCorp will initially only be available to health care workers and first responders under a doctor’s orders. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S.
- Allowing people to self-swab at home would help reduce infection risks for front-line health care workers and help conserve protective gear. I will also help detect all the cases that have yet to be found and who must remain in quarantine.
- In order to be eligible for a home test, people are initially screened with an online questionnaire. If authorized by a physician, LabCorp will ship a testing kit to their home. The kit includes cotton swabs, a collection tube, an insulated pouch and box to ship the specimen back to LabCorp. The test results are posted online to a secure company website.
- The company said it will make the test available in the coming weeks. Each kit will cost $119. The kits will not be available in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Those states have laws prohibiting testing with at-home kits.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement the agency authorized the self-swab test based on data showing it is “as safe and accurate as sample collection at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing site”.