On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized clearance for the first diagnostic in-home test kit for COVID-19. This will allow people to self-collect nasal swab samples from the comfort of their homes without supervision. The test kit sold by LabCorp and called The Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 , is as safe and accurate as samples collected at other testing sites. The kits are predicted to be available to consumers in the coming weeks but will go first to frontline healthcare workers.
“This is very exciting news and will be advantageous for individuals to have convenient access to testing that is reliable,” exclaimed Dr. David Samadi, Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital, in Long Island. “I’m glad to hear the test will be available first to our healthcare workers and other front-line workers already doing testing. They are much more likely to be exposed to the virus. So if they themselves are noticing symptoms, they can use this test kit at home to self-diagnosis.”
The test kits, which cost $119, are shipped to a person’s home after they have been initially screened using an online questionnaire and authorized by a doctor. The kit arrives containing cotton swabs, a collection tube, and an insulated pouch. Collecting a nasal specimen is simple – the cotton swab is swirled in each nostril and then the specimen is returned to the lab in a box provided in the kit. Once LabCorp receives the sample, test results are posted online to a secure company website.
“In-home testing also has the benefit of conserving and cutting down on demand for personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns that our healthcare workers require when testing the general public,” said Dr. Samadi.
This test kit will not be available in states with laws prohibiting testing with at-home kits. These states include Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
“Initially, consumers will pay out of pocket for the test kit but they can ask for reimbursement from their insurer,” explained Dr. Samadi. “In addition, the Trump administration has emphasized that testing for coronavirus will be covered.”
“A couple of downfalls with in-home testing are it may increase the time it takes to get results back. And the other is nasal swabs may not be as accurate, as shown by one small study from France, resulting in a higher false negative rate than specimen collection using the longer swabs as performed by healthcare workers,” said Dr. Samadi. “However, once we get more of these test kits out into the public, we’ll have a better idea of how many are infected or not, which can help get millions of Americans back to work giving our economy a much needed shot of adrenaline.”
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He is a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City. He is regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., trained in oncology, open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery. He has a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.