An Enthusiast’s Guide to Home COVID-19 Testing

The COVID era has brought us many new experiences: wearing masks, going to school remotely, sheltering in place. Much of this is bad and dull. It’s amazing how much energy is saved just waiting for something to finish. But now we can finally make a new activity! An activity that will help reduce the spread of COVID! An activity that takes us to places we’ve never been before, from the comfort of our own homes! And that activity is poking our noses and investigating what’s going to happen.

I think home COVID testing is the project we’ve all been waiting for. It’s good for you and the people around you. It is a novel. It really does something about the pandemic. It is (so far) uncontrollable. After months of finding satisfaction with virtual experiences, we were able to perform experiments in real life. And they’re above the people we’re most fascinated with: ourselves.
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Am I unreasonably enthusiastic about the benefits of home testing? Probably. It’s been 22 long months. But there are also very few cases in life where you can conduct medical tests on your own. Mostly you just give some body fluids and never hear much news about it again. Some of us with two x chromosomes may have taken a pregnancy test or two, or needed to determine when they ovulated, but that’s not very much. People with chronic diseases like diabetes are obliged to constantly check their blood sugar, but nothing requires sharp instruments and skin can be considered fun. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of blood alcohol tests you take, although they’re one of those rare experiences that are less enjoyable if you’ve been drinking.

Read more: At-home COVID-19 tests will be covered by insurance companies Starting January 15, 2022

However, the COVID-19 home tests are a genuine chemistry test. You must collect a sample, mix it with reagents, test the solution, and interpret the results. There is a small toolkit. Some trials even encourage wearing rubber gloves. It looks like Break Meet Penn & Teller Meet Martha Stewart. Its CSI: Homepage. It’s as if we’ve all moved from Zooey Deschanel to Who is that girl to Emily Deschanel in The bones.

Of course, the advent of home tests is not without its hiccups. Widespread shortages are ongoing, despite the fact that tests have been around since November 2020 and the government has ample opportunity to ramp up production in the 14 months since. The tests are not 100% accurate. They are expensive, ranging from $89 for an FDA-approved home molecular test to $13 for two rapid antigen tests, and that’s before Fisher Price going on Online. Health insurance companies have taken their sweet time to cover them. None of them have been fully approved by the FDA; they are operating under emergency use authorization, just like previous vaccines. The tests provide QR codes that link to apps and online tutorials, in case you prefer video tutorials or lose your instructions, but some apps ask you to enter personal details. which many people do not want to provide. And finally, at-home testing doesn’t come with the reporting and tracking procedures of those done in the clinic. It requires everyone to be accountable.

Still, the home tests are a huge step up from just 22 months ago, when people who suspected someone in their vicinity had COVID-19, including this writer, simply sat down. stay home, take your temperature, check for symptoms, and cross your arms. that it was just a cold. (It Not.)

If you can find any at-home tests at your local pharmacy (anecdotal reports suggest they’re easier to get from brick-and-mortar stores than online), then you should probably get it. . Which one should you use? There isn’t enough data to suggest which is the most accurate, but I’ve tried five tests and ranked them from most interesting to least interesting use, because if everything we do is a force stop, the virus won.

Read more: COVID-19 test manufacturers struggle to deal with Whiplash from Omicron

(By the way, if you’re hoping to skip the annoying nose-picking part by taking the test at home, you’re in luck. All tests come with cotton swabs, some long and elegant. , others have an extra-size Q-tip.Each test requires brushing, twirling, or wiping the inner circumference of each nostril four or five times in 15 seconds. do this rather than do it to me I was wrong I’m not very gentle and I can’t see what I’m doing so I’ve never picked my nostrils without making my eyes water and make me sneeze. Your miles may vary.)

1. Binax Now (Abbot Labs, about $12 per test): Like all tests, this pack comes with nasal swabs, reagents, and a test reader. What makes it different is that it has this nifty tag for you to slide the cotton swab once you’ve poked your nose into it. You lay this card flat on the table. Then you screw the cap off a small piece of plastic doodad with the reagent in it and put 6 drops in one of the holes on the card. (Find out which hole is the hardest hole). Then you push the cotton swab through the other hole, rotate it a few times and fold the card over, revealing a small strip of glue, so that you form a square lollipop from the cotton swab. (Most tests only give you a plastic tab.) After 15 minutes, you check how many stripes appear on your lollipop window. One is good, two is not.

2. QuickVue (Quidel Corp, about $12 per test): Once you get past the disgusting spelling of its name, this test is reminiscent of an old-school science test. Each package comes with a holder where you place the dropper of reagents. After stirring the inside of the nostril, swirl the swab in the test tube, remove it, and then dip a strip of paper into the test tube for one minute. Then you place the strip along the chart on the instruction sheet to test it with positive and negative results image and wait 10 minutes. Pretty hard to exploit that. The makers of QuickVue recommend that users test again in 24 hours, to sell more tests, or because it reduces the chance of false negatives, or both.

3. on / go (AccessBIo, about $12 per test: This product scores for colorful packaging. I enjoy imagining myself buying sunscreen for a long-delayed vacation, not a home. specimen collector. (Product distributor, Intrivo, prides itself on a “delightful user experience.”) It has a short swab and a vial holder like some of the others. Here is the test. The only thing that I do requires me to gently stroke the vial of the specimen, like a real lab technician might. Then you squeeze some of that liquid into a hole in the Rectangle of the plastic Retainer. Interestingly, the instructions found it appropriate to remind the user that not inserting the swab into the nose could lead to inaccurate results.

Read more: My Child Turns 12. What COVID-19 Vaccine Should They Get?

4. Flowflex (Acon Biotech, about $10 per test): This test was brave enough to put an image of the coronavirus spike on its packaging. Worryingly, this virus is blue in color and looks vaguely like planet earth being attacked by purple trees. It is also the only one with a stamped quality certificate — all the way to Hangzhou, China. Its main design innovation is the included cardboard box with a small perforated hole for you to place reagent tubes, which has a MacGyver-ish appeal. After the nose is done, you have to insert the cotton swab and squeeze and swirl it at the same time, which only requires you to be more skillful than other toothpicks. From then on, it was the same as the other solutions: squeeze the solution onto the plastic and wait.

5. IHealth (iHealth Labs, about $7 per test): The cheapest test is also the least interesting. It has a similar squeezable liquid vial where you place a cotton swab behind your nose and swirl it and then drip the resulting drop into a small plastic test device. It’s a bit more confusing, though: by design, it’s very difficult to distinguish used and unopened vials when I finish the test and I have to dispose of both.

All my tests are negative. But I had a positive in my family and all the tests we tried detected it, although sometimes the line that said the positive result was very very faint and we had to look closely. dual. In any case, it definitely beats standing in the long run. Having COVID can be very uncomfortable. However, testing for it is a great thing. Sometimes you even get a weird lollipop at the end. An Enthusiast’s Guide to Home COVID-19 Testing

Aila Slisco

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