By Harrison Arubu
New York – The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the country’s first at-home sample collection for coronavirus testing.
FDA’s commissioner, Mr Stephen Hahn, said this during Friday’s news briefing by the White House coronavirus taskforce in Washington.
Hahn said people could now collect their own samples at home using a designated nasal swab kit called Pixel, then submit to the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) for testing.
But the kit would be made available first to health care workers and first responders in the frontline of the war against the virus.
It is then expected to go on sale to consumers in most states, “with a doctor’s order, in the coming weeks”, according to him.
Media reports say the kit costs 119 dollars (N44,744) and buyers will have to complete a survey about their eligibility for it.
The survey would include questions on whether intending buyers are healthcare workers, where they live, and if they have any virus symptoms.
An earlier FDA statement quoted the commissioner as saying that the approval had provided a convenient and reliable option for patient sample collection from the comfort and safety of their home.
“This authorisation only applies to the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test for at-home collection of nasal swab specimens using the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 home collection kit.
“It is important to note that this is not a general authorisation for at-home collection of patient samples using other collection swabs, media, or tests, or for tests fully conducted at home,” he said.