As confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to rise across the nation, local and state leaders are scrambling to provide adequate testing for communities, and as telemedicine rises in popularity, virtual health companies are looking for ways to streamline the testing process without requiring patients to leave their homes.
Health platform 1Health.io has launched the first telehealth-supervised COVID-19 self-collection kits to drugstores like Vitagene and GNC, with 50,000 kits immediately available, according to a news release.
Company officials said 1Health.io and its lab partners are ramping up to provide 300,000 test kits by May to increase widespread testing capacity in the U.S.
The FDA-approved kits are formulated to be used with telehealth services, meaning a physician would supervise the self-collection of the sample.
1Health.io kits would test a saliva sample, something the company said would help relieve strain on the supply of nasal swabs in U.S. hospitals.
According to a news release, 1Health.io’s test kits and cloud platform were designed to support the following goals:
- Allow a patient to have saliva collected in a special saliva kit during a telehealth session with a care provider supervising from a remote location.
- Support doctors who are attending to their patients online through TeleHealth platforms, allowing them to supervise a COVID-19 test over telehealth platforms.
- Reduce the need for a healthcare provider to personally perform the sample collection. The test kit is a simple saliva spit kit that can be supervised remotely, reducing risk of unintended infections of the healthcare provider.
- Reduce the need for consumption of nasal swabs, which are in shortage across U.S. hospital systems.
- The kits are 100% U.S. made, eliminating substantial supply chain complexity and import dependency.
- Facilitate doctors and rural clinics with limited access to local lab equipment to obtain high quality COVID-19 testing for their patients while reducing the incidence of secondary infection.
- Digitally deliver test results to the ordering healthcare provider, upon approval to the patient, within three to four days of specimen collection.
1Health.io will initially release the supply of test kits to hospital systems and doctors who want to remotely collect specimens from COVID-19 symptomatic patients within clinical settings, according to a news release.
It was not immediately clear how much the tests would cost, or if all GNC and Vitagene locations across the nation would receive the tests.