Online retailer Amazon is now selling at-home COVID-19 tests as cases rise across the nation and Arizona, the state now ranked as the highest for new cases in the United States.
The saliva-based test, produced by DxTerity, is self-administered and has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for people who are symptomatic or asymptomatic.
The test was authorized under an emergency use authorization. So far, no home-based COVID-19 tests have been FDA-approved.
“Asymptomatic testing is essential in limiting viral spread because a person can have COVID-19 without exhibiting any symptoms of the illness,” according to a Jan. 5 news release by DxTerity.
The test is designed to detect viral genetic material, but it does not test for COVID-19 immunity or detect antibodies.
The kits can be purchased individually for $110 or in a 10-pack for $1,000 and are now available on Amazon.
It is unclear whether DxTerity will sell its tests on other online marketing sites and this one appears to be the only COVID-19 test sold on Amazon.
Meanwhile, Arizona is still offering free testing.
The Governor’s Office has partnered with ASU to offer testing throughout the state. Still another option is Embry Women’s Health, which is currently offering free drive-thru testing 24/7 with 40 different testing locations.
Find a full list of testing locations available in Arizona and online here.
According to DxTerity’s website, the test can be taken unsupervised.
Regarding home-based tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the specimen collection and the testing can take place in a private location such as a personal residence. A laboratory does not perform the testing.
DxTerity asks that test users not to eat, drink (even water) or chew gum 30 minutes before use, then fill the tube with salvia to the line indicated. The tube is then sealed in the provided bag and dropped off at a FedEx dropbox the same day and not on a Saturday or Sunday.
DxTerity promises results within 24 to 48 hours after the sample is received.
Whether saliva testing is as effective as nasal swab testing isstill a matter of debate, but saliva-based tests are becoming more widely accepted due to ease of use and the fewer PPE items and supplies needed for testing.
A study conducted by ARUP Laboratories and the University of Utah Health has found that saliva-based tests are just as effective as deep nasal swab testing. An additional unpublished study suggests nasal swabs done from the front of the nose might be less effective than a deep nasal swab.
CNN reported last April that while saliva tests can be accurate, a molecular test using a nasal swab is considered the best option, according to Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing.
In its testing, DxTerity worked with 76 symptomatic subjects using both a saliva-based tube and a nasal swab. Out of the samples, the saliva-based sampling had three false-positives, and one sample did not match with the swab test where the saliva test was negative and the swab test was positive, according to the data DxTerity submitted for emergency use authorization to the FDA.
Overall, the study found DxTerity’s saliva-based test and a nasal swab test provided similar results.
DxTerity’s tests have been used by multiple Fortune 500 companies, pharmaceutical organizations and entertainment groups, according to the news release.
“We have demonstrated the reliability and quality of our COVID-19 testing solution with big business and now we want to expand access to customers at home and small businesses,” said Bob Terbrueggen, founder and CEO of DxTerity in the news release.
DxTerity directs questions to its customer service team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DxTerity did not respond to multiple attempts to reach them for additional comment.
Independent coverage of bioscience in Arizona is supported by a grant from the Flinn Foundation.