A home testing company in the United States, known as Everlywell, has announced that come March 23, there will be an availability of home test kits for the COVID-19 virus. Everlywell is based in Austin and offers a range of validated tests for everything from cholesterol levels to fertility and infectious diseases like STDs. With this innovation though, they have taken things up a notch.

There are rising concerns that the tools available to diagnose the virus is not fast enough or nearly enough to meet the number of people who need to be tested. This is because testing was limited to the one provided by the Centers for Disease Control and conducted at state and local public health labs, the Food and Drug Administration allowed certified labs, including commercial lab testing companies, to develop and distribute COVID-19 tests. However, if people could test themselves at home, it would help to diagnose more cases, and facilitate quicker responses.

Other private companies have been involved with creating tests for COVID-19, however, Everlywell is the first company to offer its test directly to consumers.

The Everlywell At-Home Lab Testing is easy to use and quite affordable. However, there are procedures to follow to procure this test kit.


Customers can order from the company’s website, after answering some questions about their health conditions, symptoms etc. The telemedicine doctors from PWNHealth ( a national network of physicians) review the answers to determine if they meet the criteria established by the CDC before the doctor can prescribe the test. This they do to rule out other illnesses that present with similar symptoms as the coronavirus.

After the telemedicine doctor decides to prescribe an Everlywell COVID-19 test, the company says it will send the $135 test kit in two days (for expedited delivery, customers can pay $30 more to receive the kit overnight).

This kit comes with a special swab that is long enough to take samples from the back of the nose and throat area, along with instructions for how to seal the swab sample to send it back to the company. People can also provide both spit and sputum samples as backups. (For now, the Food and Drug Administration only validates samples from nasoparyngeal swabs, but companies have applied to test spit and sputum.).

A medical swab

The sample is sent in a pre-paid overnight package, and processed at one of several labs approved by the FDA to perform the test around the country within 72 hours.

The company says it will then send results by text and email, and doctors may advise people to self-isolate until they receive them. If the test is positive, Everlywell also provides a full telemedicine consultation with one of around 200 physicians that is included in the cost of the test. That physician also reports the result as a positive case to the appropriate state health departments, as is required by health authorities.

Will these home test kits be limited to the US or will they be available for global use? Will they be able to meet demand?

For now, Everlywell says it is ready to ship 30,000 COVID-19 tests, and plans to expand the number of labs processing the samples.

The CEO and founder Julia Cheek has said that scaling up the number of testing kits will depend on the availability of swabs for collecting samples. This is because the main producer of the swab is a company based in Italy, and seeing that Italy is under lockdown, there is a global shortage of swabs for any lab performing the test. Consequently, Everlywell’s first kit will only contain one swab, until the conditions change. Ultimately, she says, the testing kits could be designed for a household so everyone in a family could be tested if needed to know what protective measure they might need to take.

Having seen the headway being made by western nations, it begs the question would we be seeing something like this from Nigerians and other African countries anytime soon?

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