PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An over-the-counter, at-home coronavirus test kit is coming soon.
“This is something people are going to be able to pick up, do the test themselves, and they’ll know immediately if they have the virus,” says Dr. Brian Lamb, a primary care internist at the Allegheny Health Network.READ MORE: Trump-Backed Candidate Bob Paduchik Tapped To Head Ohio Republican Party
“If you can take a real-time test and realize I have it, it’s going to keep you from going to work, it’s going to keep you from going to family events, and it’s going to keep you from going to any large gatherings,” he added.
To use the $30 test, consumers take a nasal swab and put the sample in a cartridge. The cartridge hooks up with a smartphone, and an app displays results in 15 minutes.
“The more things cost, and the more technology involved, we’re not going to get it to everyone who needs the test,” says Dr. Lamb. “It’s going to have limited use, but it is going to hopefully expand our testing.”
In a U.S. clinical trial, it showed 96 percent accuracy for people older than 2 years old.READ MORE: Police Arrest Man Accused Of Shooting Neighbor In The Arm After Dispute
“It only has a three percent false positive rate, which is good. If you’re testing positive, it’s a very good chance you really do have it,” Dr. Lamb said.
The FDA granted emergency use authorization in December with the idea of getting more tests to more people. Part of the idea behind increased testing, though, is to prevent super spreading.
“If it required a smartphone, hopefully then the plan is it’ll connect into a database, so then we’ll still be able to track where the outbreaks are happening,” says Dr. Lamb.
The federal government has made a $232 million deal with Ellume, the Australian company that makes the test. The product will come from Australia until an American plant can be built. The U.S. facility will produce 19 million tests a month.
“The more tests that we can get built, usually, that can help drive down the cost of the tests themselves,” Dr. Lamb said. “How do we get mass production? How do we scale up so that we can actually get this to everybody?”MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Heavy Rainfall, Flood Watches And Warnings Issued
The U.S. expects 100,000 tests to be shipped by the end of February.