Local doctor reacts to new at-home COVID-19 testing kit

FDA approves at home rapid test for COVID

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Food and Drug Administration has approved a COVID-19 test you can take without even leaving your home.

The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is available by prescription for self-diagnosis, and you can get your results in as little as 30 minutes.

President of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, said Lucira’s at-home test will make it easier for people to get tested and could help slow the virus.

“If people, upon getting a positive test, even if they’re asymptomatic, if they isolate and do not expose other people, you reduce transmission of the disease, you reduce the burden of disease, and you will ultimately reduce the number of people being hospitalized. That’s a win!” Dr. Williamson said.

The test allows users to swab their own noses. The sample is then swirled in a vial solution that plugs into a portable device. You snap the lid closed, then wait for the result, which is displayed on the test unit.

“I don’t think we can expect people to run the probe as far back into their nose as you do on the PCR test,” Dr. Williams explained.

“Anytime people are self-administering a test, there is a risk that it doesn’t get done quite properly, and again, that leads to the false-negatives,” he said.

Dr. Williamson also warned against having a false sense of security if your test result is negative, keeping in mind the test is only a snapshot of when you took it.

“If on the other hand, individuals get a negative test and think that that somehow means that they’re going to be negative tomorrow, or they’re going to be negative a week from now and engage in risky behavior…that’s a real problem,” Dr. Williamson said.

Dr. Williamson also anticipates this at-home test will make counting cases more challenging.

He said while the test does require a prescription, the responsibility to report positive cases falls on the physician who wrote it.

The single-use test will cost you about $50 but may be covered by your insurance.

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