The Food and Drug Administration has approved at-home coronavirus tests, which will soon be available at major retailers without a prescription.
Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNOW coronavirus rapid test kits will soon be shipped to CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart locations. It will also be available online. The tests will retail for $23.99.
Another test made by Australia-based company Ellume will be sold at CVS stores across Rhode Island and Massachusetts and available online. The Ellume test will retail for $38.99.
Both of the tests deliver results in about 15 minutes and do not require a sample to be sent out to a lab. The two tests are antigen screen tests, which are considered less sensitive than lab-based PCR tests.
The availability of at-home tests is a positive step toward increasing testing when testing has decreased in favor of vaccinations. But some critics believe the tests are priced too high for some communities, even though they are priced to be on par with health insurance copayments.
“I still have worries, and the biggest lingering one is the potential cost of these tests,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health associate professor and epidemiologist. “This increases options for some, not all. So we have to keep working to make these tests more widely available.”
The news of at-home testing comes as all adults over the age of 16 became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.