Scanwell Health, the provider of smartphone-powered at-home medical testing kits, is the latest firm to eye the launch of a COVID-19 home testing kit.
The company has secured the exclusive rights to license and distribute a novel coronavirus ‘rapid serology test’ from Chinese biotechnology firm Innovita. The test is said to take 15 minutes through the Scanwell Health app – with a doctor or nurse reaching out with the results ‘within hours’.
“We recognized that a number of healthcare organizations are struggling to evaluate patients for COVID-19 due to testing constraints,” said Stephen Chen, founder and CEO of Scanwell Health. “While the gold standard for diagnosis is still the PCR test, given the growing shortage of swabs and reagents, a rapid serology test is beneficial in that it allows for wide-scale testing.
“We hope that these home-use test kits will ease the burden on healthcare centers, so that they can focus on the highest severity cases.”
Scanwell plans to use its existing partnership with Lemonaid Health to distribute the tests to people in the US. However, the company first needs approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Should the tests be approved, they will first be rolled out to Washington state, California, New York, and other states that have been hit hard so far.
Patients will have to complete an online intake questionnaire, which is evaluated by a Lemonaid doctor or nurse. If deemed necessary, the doctor or nurse will then send an at-home kit to the patient for next business day delivery. Once received, the patient performs the test and shares the results with the doctor or nurse via the Scanwell app, and they are then advised on what the next steps should be, depending on the results.
The tests will cost $70 and people will not require insurance.
“The option of having an at-home test mailed next day to your door gives Americans nationally a new option for how to get tested without putting others at risk of infection by driving to a lab or doctor's office,” said Paul Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Lemonaid Health. “Our medical team will order the test, convey the results to the patient, and help the patient understand what the test result means in terms of both the result and what to do next. The result of the test could have immediate implications for not just the patient, but their family and friends, too.”
The introduction of Scanwell’s testing kit comes shortly after Everlywell announced that it would be releasing an at-home COVID-19 testing kit of its own from 23 March. Everlywell’s kits will costs $125 and results can be expected within 48 hours.