Testing is critical to slow the spread of the coronavirus, because it identifies people who carry the virus, both those who are sick and those who show no symptoms. Once people are aware that they are infected, they can take appropriate measures to avoid others to avoid exposure.
Medical testing companies started developing coronavirus home test kits in March, but the FDA has slowly approved them. As of May 2020, there are a few kits with the blessing of the FDA for home testing, but you still need a doctor's order to get them.
Here's what you need to know about the home testing kits, the FDA's position, and how to get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or think you've been exposed.
Home tests are now available
There are currently two types of tests available for home use: Pap smears and saliva tests.
The Food and Drug AdministrationPixel from LabCorp, on April 21, 2020. The FDA partnered with LabCorp to develop the test and said it is as accurate as a sample taken by a physician. The test is performed using a special cotton swab in the kit that the patient uses to take a sample from the nasal cavity, and then return your sample to LabCorp. The test first requires a doctor's order and you cannot buy it without it.
"Specifically for tests that include home sampling, we worked with LabCorp to ensure that the data demonstrated from collecting home samples from patients is as safe and accurate as collecting samples from a doctor, hospital, or other With this action, there is now an easy and reliable option for collecting patient samples from the comfort and safety of their home, "said FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn in a statement.
On April 13, the FDA granted Rutgers University's RUCDR Infinite Biologics biorepository emergency permit for a new method that it developed to test saliva samples for the coronavirus. Rutgers says saliva studies allow patients to collect samples themselves at home, helping to protect caregivers from exposure to the coronavirus at test sites, and reducing the demand for personal protective equipment, which is already hard to come by.
Following that FDA approval, two companies, Vault Health and 1Health.io, announced plans to sell home saliva tests under the supervision of a physician via telemedicine.
Only on May 8, did the FDA authorize the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory to actually test samples of saliva collected at home for the coronavirus, using Spectrum Solutions collection kits. This is the first home diagnostic test with saliva samples and is only available with a prescription. The test must also be returned to the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Lab for processing.
Uplifting scenes of coronavirus solidarity around the world
Saliva tests are much less invasive, less uncomfortable, and carry less risk to caregivers – so why did it take so long to approve them? The FDA had to ensure that the samples could provide the same accuracy as nasal swabs. When it comes to concerns about how the saliva tests perform compared to nasal swabs, the research shows promise.
Yale Public Health researchers did a small study and found that the saliva tests were as reliable – and sometimes even more accurate – than nasal smears. It is important to note that this study is only preliminary and has not been peer reviewed. Therefore, the findings are considered healthy only when a formal peer review can be completed.
The FDA's Position on Other Home Tests
As the coronavirus rapidly spread in the United States in early March, companies started developing test kits at home to screen it. EverlyWell, Scanwell and Nurx have all announced that they would make and distribute testing at home directly to consumers. The companies, at the time of each announcing their test kits, believed that they were working within FDA guidelines for emergency use.
But on March 20, the FDA issued a warning to companies trying to get the tests directly from consumers that these tests could be "fraudulent" because they are "unauthorized." In fact, the warning said that the FDA is working with companies and labs to develop a test that can be done at home, but there were no home tests approved by the FDA at the time.
Most companies interrupted orders for the tests following the FDA's warning, but EverlyWell still makes its test kits available only to medical professionals.
For many people, the only way to get a test is the permission of a doctor. This also applies to people who think they have been exposed but have no symptoms. You can try to contactfor a test, but availability and suitability .
The Best Action You Can Take If You Or Someone Else If you know you are feeling sick, you should first call your doctor so they can determine if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. If your doctor decides you should be tested, they'll order a test and you can go to a drive-through test center to receive it. A doctor may also order a home test for you, which will be sent to you. In that case, collect the sample and be responsible for returning it to the laboratory.
It is important that you do not go to a doctor's office, emergency room, or emergency room if you have symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, because you can expose health workers and those most at risk of death.
The exception to this is if you have emergency warnings for COVID-19 that require immediate medical attention. These may include breathing difficulties or shortness of breath, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. If you can call the hospital to tell them you're coming, try to do it so they can prepare well.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.