What You Need To Know About At-Home COVID-19 Tests
COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) was not sufficiently tested for by Americans at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In large part, this was caused by a shortage of diagnostic testing facilities. Despite the increase in testing supply, shortages continue to occur as regional demand increases. Prevention of new infections remains dependent on tracing infected individuals.
Currently, at-home test kits are in high demand due to the dominance of the Omicron variant on the COVID-19 landscape. The tests can be ordered and completed without visiting a provider physically. FDA-authorized at-home tests are offered by a number of companies. Check out these at-home test kits to learn what you should know.
In addition to molecular tests (PCRs), antigen tests are also available for COVID-19. COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which works differently to confirm infection.
You will be able to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in your sample through molecular tests. A virus antigen test aims to detect specific proteins on the virus’ surface.
Several companies offer FDA-approved COVID-19 PCR tests for at-home collection. There is no reimbursement plan for these tests under the Biden-Harris amendment.
A COVID-19 risk assessment is generally required before you can collect PCR samples at home. Your sample will be collected after you receive a test and instructions. An oral swab or nasal swab is generally used to collect the sample, which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. A company representative will contact you 1-2 days after the sample is received to inform you of the results and next steps.
Some rapid PCR Labs tests can be performed fully at home, while many at-home PCR tests require lab processing. In contrast to those above, you perform these tests yourself and receive your results within 30 minutes or less. There are several COVID-19 tests available today, including the Cue and Lucira Check It tests.
In addition to over-the-counter tests such as BinaxNOW from Abbott and iHealth from Amazon, rapid antigen tests can also be done at retail pharmacies. Depending on the retailer, some people must pay for their tests up-front and submit a reimbursement claim, while others receive their tests free of charge.
You will collect your sample using a nasal swab, just like you would for a PCR test. Once the swab has been exposed to the chemicals, you will wait for the results. Waiting time will be between 10 and 15 minutes. Getting accurate results requires following the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. The tests are simple.
Diagnostic tests are only as accurate as their accuracy. According to the FDA’s EUA policy, “false results can have a significant impact on public health.” As a result of working with LabCorp, FDA officials ensured that data collected at home was as safe and accurate as that collected in a doctor’s office, hospital, or other testing facility.
A study performed by Everlywell demonstrated that testing samples remained stable during shipping. Only 1% of tests conducted by Vault are inconclusive for SARS-CoV-2, according to the company.
It’s possible to detect small amounts of viruses in your system using PCR tests that replicate parts of the virus. Consequently, they produce a lower rate of false negatives for asymptomatic people and people with the virus in its early stages. The downside is that you may continue testing positive for a while after regaining your health.