Several rapid at-home COVID-19 tests have been approved by FDA

Coronavirus

This undated photo provided by Ellume shows a self-administered rapid coronavirus at home test kit developed by Australian manufacturer Ellume. U.S. regulators on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, allowed emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that consumers can buy without a prescription to test themselves entirely at home. (Ellume via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) –The days of waiting in line for a COVID-19 test or standing by for days to get those results could be over. The at-home Covid test is now a reality.

The FDA has approved about 10 rapid self-tests like the Vault Health PCR genetics test. Jason Feldman, CEO of Vault Health said, “We’ll guide you to spit into it which is what makes this test so easy and so unique.”

The Vault Health test can be ordered online, done in the comfort of home and without that extra-long, sometimes uncomfortable, swab. The test should arrive 24 hours after ordering it.

“There’s no swabbing,” Feldman said.

Feldman told 8News, “You’ll open it up and there be a little card inside that will tell you not to do anything like eat, drink, smoke or chew gum about half an hour before joining a Zoom room.”

That’s right, for this test you will join a Zoom meeting with a health professional. They’ll guide you as you simply spit into a tube, seal it up and ship it back.

“The results will come back by email in 24 to 48 hours. When it comes back, we have a less than 1% chance that it is a false negative,” Feldman said.

Vault Health recently entered into a partnership with JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in an effort to get travelers before and after travel. The hope is to increase safety and reduce quarantine requirements.

Most of the other tests like ones from Lucira, Ellume and Pixel by LabCorp still require a nasal swab. Yet, they’re not as invasive.

You swab just the front of your nose. “It is not a swab that tickles the base of your brain,” explained Ellume CEO Doctor Sean Parson.

In a video provided to 8News by Ellume, Dr. Parson shows how their soon to be over-the-counter test works.

“You gently sweep that around the inside of your nasal cavity,” he demonstrated. After that, using a smartphone app and Bluetooth, your results are ready in 15 minutes.

8News wanted to know if the tests are safe and accurate.

We interviewed Doctor Brooke Rosseheim, a Public Health Physician Specialist with the Virginia Department of Health. He said, “They offer convenience, they offer safety.” Dr. Rossheim told the self-tests save time, increase access, reduce the need for PPE-and increase safety for those on the front lines and in line.

“If you have a line of 100 people they might not be socially distanced,” he explained.

Doctor Rossheim also tells us most of these self-tests are PCR tests which are considered the gold standard in COVID testing.

“These are accurate tests,” he told us. You may still need to consult a health care provider before getting an at-home test.

Dr. Rossheim said, “Typically these are prescription items.” However, that can often be obtained through telehealth.

The Pixel and Ellume tests do not require a prescription. The Pixel test can be ordered online now.

The Ellume test will be available in the U.S. in January. Consumers can expect to find them in drug stores, pharmacies, and online. The price is about $30.

The Lucira test costs about $50. The Pixel by LabCorp is $119 out of pocket. The Pixel website does state “We can bill your insurance, utilize federal funds to cover the cost of this test on your behalf if you’re uninsured, or you can pay with a credit card.”

Insurance coverage can vary with self-tests.

Consumers using the Vault Health test is can be reimbursed by filing a claim. The cost of Vault Health is $118. Generally, we’re told tests recommended by a health provider are covered but it is always a good idea to check with your insurance provider.


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