FDA Authorizes First At-Home Sample Collection Test for COVID-19
WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration Tuesday approved the first diagnostic test for the coronavirus that allows people to collect their sample at home — a development that could greatly expand testing options in states fighting to corral the outbreak.
The COVID-19 RT-PCR from LabCorp will initially only be available to health care workers and first responders under a doctor’s orders.
The sample, collected via swab, will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S.
Before gaining access to the home test, people are screened using 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. To take a sample, a cotton swab is swirled in each nostril. The test results are posted online to a secure company website.
The company said it will make the test kit available in the coming weeks. Each 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 Stephan Hawn 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.”
“Throughout this pandemic we have been facilitating test development to ensure patients access to accurate diagnostics, which includes supporting the development of reliable and accurate at-home sample collection options,” he said.
“The FDA’s around-the-clock work since this outbreak began has resulted in the authorization of more than 50 diagnostic tests and engagement with over 350 test developers,” he continued.
The FDA said it will continue to work with test developers to determine whether or not Q-tip-style cotton swabs can be used safely and effectively with other tests.
In The News
What is contact tracing, and how does it work with COVID-19? The goal of contact tracing is to alert people who may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, and prevent them from spreading it to others. Health experts say contact tracing is key to... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — With U.S. virus cases spiking and the death toll mounting, the White House is working to undercut its most trusted coronavirus expert, playing down the danger as President Donald Trump pushes to get the economy moving before he faces voters in November. The... Read More
As the Trump administration pushes full steam ahead to force schools to resume in-person education, public health experts warn that a one-size-fits-all reopening could drive infection and death rates even higher. They’re urging a more cautious approach, which many local governments and school districts are already... Read More
The top U.S. education official downplayed the risk of reopening schools in the fall, a high priority of President Donald Trump, and repeated a threat to cut funding to schools that don’t fully resume in-person learning as educators wrestle with the risk of coronavirus. “There’s nothing... Read More
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Pulsing parties in swanky South Beach mansions. Raging raves in Miami warehouses. Backyard bashes in Palm Beach manors where teenagers drink late into the night. South Florida is a world epicenter of coronavirus infections, but some irrepressible revelers insist on trying to... Read More
After waging a pitched, months-long battle against the coronavirus, New York City is now stepping up its efforts to protect its residents from a more familiar adversary -- the onset of summer heat wave season. Even without a global pandemic, scorching summer temperatures in big cities... Read More