While most businesses have been struggling day to day to remain open over the last year, due to the ongoing coronavirus, Walmart has proven to be an exception to the rule. The retail giant has reported a boom in sales on everything from paper towels to PPE.
Now the nation's largest retailer is announcing another item to help Americans in their day to day battle with COVID-19—that of personal home COVID testing kits. Walmart now offers the test kits online for purchase by those individuals who believe they may have been in contact with an carrier or exposed to the virus.
The testing kits, which will also be available on the Sam's Club website, are manufactured and supplied by MyLab Box, a home testing startup based out of Los Angeles. There are currently three types of tests: a nasal swab, a saliva swab, and a box that tests for both COVID-19 and the flu.
The price of the kits is being marketed at between $99 and $135 each. When customers make a purchase, they will also receive a code unique to them that will prompt them to fill out a health survey. If the survey answers meet all the necessary requirements, a physician will generate an order, and the test kit will then be mailed out to the customer. Although customers have the choice of paying for faster shipping, regular shipping will be estimated at two days.
Lori Flees, a spokesperson for Walmart's US Health and Wellness division, stated on the company's blog that: "some test collection kits even come with a telehealth call if a positive result occurs."
Found almost a decade ago, in 2013, the focus of MyLab Box was initially that of STD home testing. However, earlier this year, when the pandemic hit, the company chose to pivot and begin offering tests for COVID-19. However, a delay occurred when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) felt that the then only available type of test that of the nasopharyngeal swab, was difficult for the public to administer adequately. The results were also prone to false positives and negatives.
With the later development of both saliva tests and tests that target the front of the nostrils, the process has become somewhat more simplified. In turn, this simplification allowed the FDA the leeway to grant at home collection kit manufacturers, such as MyLab Box, emergency authorization for use.
Do you think that individuals will be more willing to test if they can do it from the privacy of their home?