How Reliable Are At-Home COVID Tests?

How Reliable Are At Home COVID Tests?

( – The pandemic is back in full swing, and an increasing number of people are seeking access to fast, convenient, reliable tests. Testing sites have been set up all over the country for our convenience, but who wants to get in line with a bunch of other potentially sick people to find out whether they’ve been infected?

At-home tests have been available for several months, according to GoodRX, but some people have had questions about their accuracy. Let’s take a look at the available info.

See How Reliable At-Home COVID Tests Actually Are. 

A Variety of Tests

All COVID-19 at-home tests currently use samples from either nasal swabs or saliva. The following tests use swab samples:

  • Everlywell is $109 per kit, and results are available online 24-48 hours after the lab receives the sample.
  • LetsGetChecked costs $119, with results 24-72 hours after receipt. This company advertises gentle nasal swabbing that is less invasive than other tests.
  • Picture by Fulgent Genetics is also $119 and has a similar turnaround.
  • Pixel by LabCorp is $119, and because it goes through a nationally accredited lab, users can have the company bill their insurance companies for kits.

Saliva tests are also available, although most are more expensive:

  • Vitagene costs $129, and results are usually available within 72 hours of reaching the lab.
  • AZOVA/Costco is $130, with results that come 24-72 hours upon receipt. Users must complete an AZOVA health questionnaire before they can receive their tests.
  • Phosphorus costs $140, and also requires the completion of a questionnaire.
  • P23 Labs costs $142, and these tests require a doctor’s authorization before users can begin.
  • Vault is $150 per kit, and it requires users to perform their tests while on supervised Zoom calls.
  • hims & hers also costs $150, and results are available 3-5 days after samples arrive at the lab.

Not all tests are approved for Hawaii travel clearance. Check with each lab for updates on restrictions.

FDA Confusion

The main issue with these tests is the fact that none have yet been FDA-approved. The agency has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for at-home tests, but authorization isn’t the same as approval. These tests all claim high accuracy rates, and the feedback so far has been positive, but without that highly coveted seal of approval, their figures could be arbitrary.

The Bottom Line

We’re wading through unfamiliar territory, so we might need to push through a bit of trial and error before finding the best approaches to controlling this pandemic. At-home testing is a step in the right direction. FDA-approval is the next reasonable move. Until that occurs, we’ll have to trust that these new tests are as accurate as they claim to be — or hold off until we’re more certain.

Fast, accurate COVID-19 testing is important, but in the wake of 2020 and all we’ve weathered, convenience and safety are also at the top of most people’s lists. We may not know the full story on many of the tests that have recently become available, but right now, we need to use whatever resources we can to get through this pandemic. With those and other factors in mind, at-home testing might be an ideal option for many of us.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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