15-Minute At-Home COVID Test Announced by White House
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest hurdles the United States has faced is the lack of sufficient testing. Not only have tests been limited in availability, but the ones that do exist take days to rear results or aren't completely accurate. However, on Monday morning, during the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team revealed the exciting news that a new at-home, instant COVID test is hitting the market. Read on to find out the details—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Get Test Results in 15 Minutes
Slavitt revealed that the department of defense and HHS made an announcement on Monday that the country's first over-the-counter at-home COVID test is coming soon. "The test is made by a company called Ellume and it's on a testing platform that was developed in the NIH RADx initiative," he said.
The tests are easy-to-use, rear quick and accurate results, and are appropriate for those over the age of two per Slavitt. "These are over the counter self-performed test kits that can detect COVID with roughly 95% accuracy within 15 minutes. They can be used if you feel symptoms of COVID-19 and also for screening for people without symptoms so they can safely go to work, to school, and to events," he continued.
They are also less invasive as the tests currently on the market, he revealed. "The test is performed in what is called a mid turbinate nasal swab, which basically means it's less invasive than the long nasopharyngeal swab that people may have seen on the news."
And, it is also smartphone compatible. "After you take the swab, you put the sample into a digital analyzer, which will send a result to your smartphone in about 15 minutes," he said.
Ultimately, these tests will be a game changer, Slavik points out. "Making easier to use tests available to every American is a higher priority with obvious benefits," he said. He added that the Department of Defense and HHS has awarded $230 million to Ellume in order to amp up production to manufacture over 19 million test kits per month, 8.5 million which are guaranteed to go to the US government by the end of the year. "The ability to quickly test, to contact trace, to quarantine is a linchpin of our national strategy and will be a vital part of maintaining the virus and stopping community spread," he said.
The only downside to the tests, as pointed out by an NPR journalist during the Q&A, is that they aren't cheap. In fact, their cost, "$30 a pop" may not be affordable for everyone. However, Slavik hopes that as production amps up, the cost will come down.
Follow Dr. Fauci's Fundamentals to Stay Safe
However, in the interim and while vaccines are still being rolled out, Slavik pointed to Dr. Walensky and Dr. Fauci's health fundamentals as essentials. "Wearing a well-fitting mask is vital," he said. "Without masks the virus and the new variants will have too easy a time continuing to grow." So follow the fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.