The American Medicines Agency (FDA) authorized a new nasal sample collection kit on Saturday to screen for the new coronavirus, increasing the range available in a country seeking to speed up screening of its population.
The FDA approved the first test of a self-drawn patient sample at home on the nose on April 21 and shipped to LapCorp, a large chain of laboratories. On May 8, the agency approved a test, designed by Rutgers University, which uses a saliva sample taken from the patient’s home and then shipped to the laboratory.
Saturday’s authorization concerns a nose sampling kit, manufactured by the company Everlywell, which can be analyzed by several screening tests: it is a swab (a kind of cotton swab) and a solution saline where the sample will be immersed for express shipment to the analysis laboratory.
The laboratory test
Two tests have already received authorization to use the Everlywell kit, and others may be approved later, according to the FDA.
In each case, the sample is taken at home but the test itself is carried out in the laboratory, which then communicates the result to the patient.
“The authorization of a home collection kit for Covid-19 which can be used by multiple tests in multiple laboratories increases the accessibility of screenings for patients, and protects others from potential contagion”said Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s center for medical devices.
Justify symptoms or contact with a confirmed case
More than 300,000 tests have been performed every day since Monday in the United States, according to the Covid Tracking Project, almost twice as much as what the United States did in early April.
In many jurisdictions, evidence of either symptoms or contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 is required to gain access to a screening test.