This Could Tell You If You Have COVID in 15 Minutes, White House Says
Faster, more accessible coronavirus testing is on the horizon.
One of the best ways you can combat the spread of COVID is by isolating yourself if you get infected. But how do you know if you're sick? Coronavirus symptoms often mimic other health issues, and the virus can also present with no symptoms at all—making it impossible to know you've been infected. While testing is essential, it can be a challenge to access and it takes days to get results that may not even be accurate. Now, the White House wants to make this process easier by investing in an at-home COVID test that would tell you if you're sick in just 15 minutes. Read on to find out about this major development, and for more on the future of the pandemic, This Is Exactly When We'll See the Next COVID Surge, Experts Warn.
An Australian company created an at-home COVID test that can give results in 15 minutes.
An Australian company called Ellume has created an at-home COVID test than can give you results in about 15 minutes. According to the company, this test is available for use in individuals older than 2 years old, with or without symptoms. Users can access an app on their smartphone to help them complete the test fully at home. And for signs you could be sick, If You Have These 4 Symptoms, You Might Have the New COVID Strain.
The U.S. just made a deal to buy 8.5 million of these tests.
During a Feb. 1 briefing, White House COVID senior adviser Andy Slavitt announced that the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had finalized a $230 million contract with Ellume. This will ramp up the availability of the over-the-counter at-home COVID test, which "can detect COVID with roughly 95 percent accuracy within 15 minutes," Slavitt said.
"Making easier-to-use tests available to every American is a high priority with obvious benefits," he continued. "Thanks to this contract, [Ellume will] be able to scale their production to manufacturer more than 19 million test kits per month by the end of this year, 8.5 million of which are guaranteed to the U.S. government." And for more ways to protect yourself, Dr. Fauci Says You Need One of These at Home to Avoid COVID.
These at-home tests are highly effective and relatively inexpensive.
An independently-run U.S. clinical study found that Ellume's rapid, at-home COVID antigen test had about a 96 percent accuracy rate. This is especially impressive since it can test both asymptomatic and symptomatic people, while other similar tests are only intended for use by people who have coronavirus-like symptoms. Not only that, but it's also relatively inexpensive. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the test should only cost about $30. This is cheaper than previously authorized at-home COVID tests, which cost anywhere from $109 to $155, per GoodRx. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The FDA authorized the test for emergency approval in December.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency authorization for Ellume's test on Dec. 15, making it the country's first at-home COVID test that does not need a prescription. "Today's authorization is a major milestone in diagnostic testing for COVID-19. By authorizing a test for over-the-counter use, the FDA allows it to be sold in places like drug stores," then-FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, said in a statement at the time. "As we continue to authorize additional tests for home use, we are helping expand Americans' access to testing, reducing the burden on laboratories and test supplies, and giving Americans more testing options from the comfort and safety of their own homes." And for more coronavirus news, These 2 States Are "At Risk of Being Overrun" by the New COVID Strain.