The Coronavirus Home Test: What You Should Know

(CNN Español) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the Lucira covid-19 home test, with which the coronavirus can be detected at home.

The test costs about US $ 50, will require a prescription and thanks to new technology, the patient will be able to know for himself whether or not he has the disease in half an hour.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or read the transcript below.

Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information on the new coronavirus. Information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family. Today we will see what the home test to detect the new coronavirus, recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, consists of and how it works.

Tests to detect covid-19

Now entering the eleventh month after the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 or the new coronavirus, much has been learned about the virus itself and about Covid-19, the disease it causes.

However, one of the areas of greatest development is that which refers to tests to find out if a person is infected with the virus.

Let us remember, as we said in the episodes of May 5 and September 29, that the best test to detect the new coronavirus is the molecular, genetic or PCR test, which is done in the nasal discharge or in the saliva, and that in a process that delay 4 to 6 hours, discover segments of the genetic makeup of the virus.

The big drawback with the molecular, genetic or PCR test, however, is that it requires specialized personnel and equipment.

The coronavirus home test

But the fact is that PCR technology has improved a lot in recent months, having invented systems that are faster and can be done in less sophisticated labs, and now, as we will describe, in the patient’s home.

According to the FDA, the approved product, called Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, uses a new PCR test technology, which allows the person to be tested at home and have the result in 30 minutes.

The procedure is as follows: if a person has symptoms that appear to be covid-19, they should see their doctor, who after evaluating the case will determine if they prescribe the test that the patient can pick up at the pharmacy.

Once at home, you will collect the sample by inserting and circularly moving the swab five times in each nostril.

Then, you will put the sample in a plastic container that must be placed in a device that works with two batteries. This will process the sample and give the positive or negative result.

What will the cost be?

It is anticipated that the price of the kit will be US $ 50, and as we said, you will need a prescription, which is most likely done so that the result of the home test is reported to the Department of Health and there are accurate statistics on the number of positive tests in the community.

The test will also be available in doctor’s offices and outpatient clinics.

The home test has a 94% match of positive and 98% match of negative results with the PCR test, and according to the company, when samples that had non-contagious viruses were removed, the match with the PCR was 100%.

Obviously, if the person has a positive test, they should immediately isolate themselves and see the doctor for a consultation, and if it is negative, but has symptoms, they should also seek a consultation for the possibility of a false negative or other problem.

There is no doubt that the trend in the coming months will be to have more of these home tests, which at some point may be available without a prescription, such as pregnancy tests.

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me in @DrHuerta.

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If you have any questions you can send it to doctor Elmer Huerta via Twitter. You can also go to for all the episodes of our podcast «Coronavirus: Reality vs. fiction”.

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