WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — Americans soon won’t have to leave their homes, wait in line for hours for a test and stand by for days not knowing if they’re COVID-19 positive.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the country’s first at-home test, the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit.
“You get your test result in 30 minutes,” said Dr. Gary Procop, the Cleveland Clinic’s medical director of clinical virology.
Procop’s lab participated in the clinical trial. He explained how the new single-use test works.
“They have you swab both sides of the nose, and they show you exactly how to do that, put that in the tube, swirl it around in the tube, put the cap on, and put it in the little machine,” he said. “You’ll either get a positive light or a negative light. If all the lights come on, it’s invalid. It didn’t work.”
Procop said the test will keep sick people at home, reduce the risk of exposure to healthcare workers and save personal protective equipment.
“As this rolls out and similar tests, I hope, roll out, I think those are all of the pluses for this type of test,” he said.
Procop said one of the only negatives is the home test won’t be widely available until next spring.
The rollout will start on a limited basis in Florida and California. As production ramps up, the test will be available by prescription to people 14 and older who have symptoms and should cost less than $50.
“I wish they could gear up faster,” Procop said. “I think it’ll be incentive to other companies to follow suit.”
With dozens more in the pipeline, Procop says home tests like these with early and accurate detection will be vital in getting the pandemic under control.