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At-Home Coronavirus Test: How to get yours

New at-home coronavirus tests are available. More are on the way rapidly - learn all about it here!

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Coronavirus

The team at Innerbody has reviewed hundreds of at home health tests. Along with the rest of the world, we’ve been asking, “when is an at-home test going to be available for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19?”

And now we have our answer: tests are now available! As of March 23 2020, Everlywell – one of the most trusted names in at-home health testing and a company we have reviewed and recommended extensively – is offering a brand new at-home coronavirus test. Initial supply is limited to 30,000, so if you are exhibiting symptoms, order yours immediately. Everlywell aims to ramp up availability dramatically after launching.

Everlywell isn’t alone now, either; another reliable testing company, Nurx, is also offering at-home COVID-19 tests in a limited volume now, with the goal of ramping up availability in coming days and weeks. More companies will offer tests soon as well.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Testing at home maintains social distancing and sheltering in place.
  • Labs conform to FDA requirements for COVID-19 testing.
  • Results within 2 days.
  • Nasopharyngeal swab test is reliable and straightforward to administer.
  • Consultation available for those who test positive for novel coronavirus.

Cons

  • Tests aren’t free (though you can potentially cover with insurance or HSA/FSA money).
  • Faster in-person tests should be available soon.

Bottom Line

More companies will offer at-home coronavirus testing in coming weeks, and companies currently offering them will also ramp up volume to allow more people to test. Not only that, but more rapid testing exists should hopefully become available for those who can go to a testing location. At-home testing such as Everlywell’s provides a great method for those who don’t want to leave their home and are not in need of emergency attention. Coronavirus testing is a rapidly evolving thing, as we scramble to make up for lost time, so follow the latest developments closely.

Lastly, if you are seriously ill, consult with your healthcare provider and seek needed medical attention.

Our Top Pick

Everlywell At-home Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test

A trusted company, a proven test method, high-quality lab partners, and the safety of remaining home.

The test arrives fast, and you get results within 2 days. Follow the instructions carefully and you can discover whether you have COVID-19, without having to leave home at all. At $135, it’s the cheapest at-home test option.

Runner-up test

Nurx At-home Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test

A close second, because of more limited testing volume (lower at this time) and higher cost.

Almost $50 higher in price compared to our top pick (Everlywell's test) and not as large of a testing volume at this time. But Nurx is a trusted and high-quality company. If you have symptoms and need testing, we recommend it.

Why an at-home coronavirus test is such a breakthrough

Lets Get Checked Coronavirus Test

Not only is testing in general a vital (and thus far, all-to-absent) component of fighting the spread of COVID-19 infection, but testing at home has several benefits.

  • Our medical centers can remain focused on providing care to confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • If a person is truly infected with COVID-19, the at-home coronavirus test prevents him or her from inadvertently exposing others to risk by leaving home
  • In a growing number of communities, shelter-in-place is becoming a reality
  • Even if you’re symptomatic, you may not have coronavirus, of course (one reason why testing is so important). By letting you stay home while still proactively testing, the testing for coronavirus at home prevents you from being infected through exposure elsewhere, if you are weakened by illness but not infected with COVID-19.

Bottom line: Coronavirus testing at home can help us diagnose and fight COVID-19 without risking further exposure and spread of virus. Of course, if you’re seriously ill already – or if you’re symptomatic and have underlying health conditions that statistically make your COVID-19 risks higher (like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer or lung disease, for example), you should consult with your healthcare provider immediately.

What does Everlywell's test cost?

Everywell’s coronavirus test costs $135, which includes overnight shipping in both directions. If you want it shipped overnight, you will have to pay an additional $60 flat rate for the expedited shipping.

Everlywell makes no profit from this test. They are trying to work with the government to provide tests completely free of charge, but that has not been possible to achieve yet. However, the test can be covered by HSA and FSA partners.

How to take Everlywell's at-home coronavirus test

1. Order and receive your test

Once you order your test and specify shipping, you’ll receive your kit at home. The kit will include everything you need in order to perform the test right at home. It will also include the overnight shipping label and everything you need to mail your test sample back overnight to the lab.

2. Follow the instructions to collect your test sample

Everlywell uses a method proven reliable for testing for novel coronavirus. You’ll use what is called a nasopharyngeal swab to collect a sample from up your nose. It looks like a long Q-tip. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, and it should only take a couple minutes to administer the test.

3. Mail your sample overnight

Once you’ve tested yourself, package and mail the sample. Your package will ship to a CLIA-certified lab, which will complete your test to determine if you have novel coronavirus or if the test results are negative.

4. Getting your results, and next steps

You will receive those test results within 48 hours, because the package ships to the lab overnight.

If your test comes back positive (i.e., you’ve got the novel coronavirus), then you will be put in consultation (for free) with a physician who will give you advice about what to do next.

About Everlywell's COVID-19 test

This at-home test for coronavirus is the culmination of a $1 million investment by Everlywell, launched on March 8 2020, to develop at-home testing capabilities as rapidly as possible for COVID-19. Everlywell’s aim is to help address the dire need for more testing in the United States. With their home testing platform and standing relationships with labs across the US, they sought to incentivize development partners to bring a home test to market quickly.

“As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to worsen with community spread across the United States, there is an unmet medical need to broaden the access to testing for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in a responsible manner to complement and help alleviate the potential overload on healthcare systems and healthcare providers if testing was only available in the limited clinical setting,” said Dr. Frank Ong, M.D., Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of Everlywell.

The response from the laboratory community has been swift and enthusiastic.

Everlywell Coronavirus COVID-19 test at home

Is at-home coronavirus testing reliable?

Everlywell is a recognized and trusted at-home test kit provider. All at-home coronavirus test samples will be analyzed by CLIA-certified labs that fully comply with the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 testing.

Is the testing experience private?

Everlywell is a fully HIPAA-compliant company. They will never sell any of your information. Your digital coronavirus test results are available only to you to access in their secure interface.

For public health reasons, positive test results will be reported to federal and state agencies as mandated by law.

How to know if you have symptoms of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) may include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)

Importantly, not everyone exhibits the same symptoms or all of the above. Symptoms can begin anywhere between 2-14 days after exposure.

The at-home coronavirus test from Nurx

Nurx, like Everlywell, has begun offering a PCR-based test as well, which means in this case a throat swab. You may have heard that medical supplies have started running low for the normal nasal PCR test swabs, but these are different swabs and collect a mucus sample from your throat instead (which is less unpleasant).

Nurx offers their at-home coronavirus test at cost, meaning they make no money from it. The price is $181, which includes overnight shipping in both directions.

How the testing process works with Nurx

  1. Order your COVID-19 test. As you order, there is a questionnaire that prompts you to give a little information about your symptoms, health history and possible risk factors.

  2. Nurx reviews your information. Nurx will determine whether home coronavirus testing is right for you.

  3. Your coronavirus test kit ships overnight. The package from Nurx will include everything you need to collect your test sample and ship it back (including prepaid overnight shipping envelope).

  4. Collect your sample using the throat swab. It’s easy, and you can do it yourself in a matter of minutes.

  5. Mail your specimen back to the lab. Your kit has the prepaid overnight envelope to use. And within 2 days of the lab receiving your sample, you’ll be contacted by Nurx with results.

  6. Consultation as needed. Nurx will provide you with as much consultation and health-related advice as you need following your lab results.

The $181 price produces zero profit for Nurx. Here is the breakdown of costs that dictate this price:

  • Lab testing: $100
  • Shipping both ways: $46
  • Consultation: $35

Nurx is working with government officials in hopes to make the test free or to offer it at lower cost to you. But the test can be covered by HSA or FSA providers or by insurance, depending on your provider.

Supplies are very limited at this time, however. Nurx hopes to be able to offer 10,000 kits “over the coming weeks” and aims to accelerate production of them to accommodate 10,000 tests per day after a couple weeks. As of now, they’re able to manage about 100 kits per day in volume, and by the end of the week expect that number to rise to about 1,000 per day.

Coronavirus test from myLAB Box coming soon

Aiming for a March 31 release, myLAB Box is going to offer at-home tests for COVID-19 as well. They’re partnering with a CDC-authorized lab and offering the test for a price of $165. The price pays for the following:

  • Saliva swab test kit
  • Overnight shipping in both directions
  • Lab analysis, with your results available securely online in 1-2 days
  • Free consultation for patients who test positive for COVID-19

You don’t need to be prescreened to order the test, and you can sign up today to be on the waiting list for this test.

Different types of coronavirus tests

PCR tests

A PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test for COVID-19 can determine if there is an active, living virus in your body. Currently, a PCR test is the only test able to assess if you are infected with the novel coronavirus and actively contagious to others. It is typically administered with a nasal swab that takes a sample from the back of your nose – as with Everlywell’s at-home test – but other tests from Nurx (and soon, myLAB Box and others) use different swabbing methods. A PCR test must be sent to a lab and often takes 1-2 days to get a result. Because of lab involvement, PCR tests are expensive.

During the traditional nasal swab procedure, it is very common for those tested to sneeze and spread potentially contagious respiratory droplets. The healthcare worker who administers the test must be in protective clothing and wear a mask to minimize their exposure. Then, they sometimes need to change or clean the protective clothing in between each test, further slowing the PCR testing process.

New testing being developed and approved constantly

New three-hour tests – and most recently, a 45-minute test – have gained FDA-approval to become testing options at testing centers, and the only question will be how quickly the available testing volume can be ramped up. But these tests will greatly help us combat COVID-19 because results will no longer take days.

IgG or IgM tests

IgG or IgM (Immunoglobulin) tests for COVID-19 measure the antibodies in your blood that are produced after you have had the virus. While IgG / IgM tests can’t determine if you currently have the virus, they are still very useful tests because they can help us understand who has been infected and how COVID-19 has spread.

These tests are far less expensive to produce and could one day be administered at home. IgG / IgM tests require a simple finger prick to draw a small amount of blood, similar to a blood glucose test taken at home by millions each year. Results are ready within 15 minutes.

Biomedomics, a leading testing company, has developed a rapid IgM / IgG test for COVID-19. Their test has been used widely by the Chinese CDC to combat infections and is now available globally but not yet for individual, at home use.

Coronavirus COVID-19 test at home

The team at Innerbody will continue reviewing the developments in this space. Information about COVID-19 is changing rapidly, so check back for updates and stay healthy out there.