How will state collect results from newly approved at-home COVID-19 tests? It won’t be easy

How will state collect results from newly approved at-home COVID-19 tests? It won’t be easy

ATLANTA — As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Georgia and across the country, the Food and Drug Administration just approved emergency use authorization for the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing, which provides rapid results at home.

But how will the state collect the information on the newly approved home test? Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr found out the short answer is it won’t be easy.

Currently, the country is still working on a uniform national procedure on reporting. Add independent testing to the mix and take out the need for a lab, that adds up to concern for some patients and people studying the data.

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“Is the convenience appealing?” Carr asked Gwinnett County resident, Yvonne Johnson.

“I don’t really want convenience. I don’t mind if I have to wait in line,” Johnson said.

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The new at-home test lets you do the swabbing and processing at home without having to go to a lab, test site or doctor’s office.

“I need to make sure the results are legitimate. I need to make sure that I’m receiving the correct answer,” Johnson said.

“It isn’t a slam dunk that people are going to be able to know how to do the swab properly and we’re really putting a lot of faith into a little pamphlet that’s going to come inside the kit and that all the kits are working properly,” said Stanford University professor Dr. Jorge Caballero.

Caballero has been advising local governments on COVID-19 data management.

While a doctor should issue a prescription and follow up with anyone who receives this test, he worries that the second step may be unrealistic for already strained health care providers.

“I’ll be honest, that may present a barrier to entry for some physicians who are already overwhelmed in their day-to-day activities,” Caballero said.

Georgia’s Department of Public Health emergency use authorization is still so new that they’re not sure how they’ll effectively collect test results once it is widely used.

The manufacturer plans to unroll a self-reporting website in the coming months, but without the checks of a second and third party, the patient honesty may come into play.

“For many folks it’s a matter of, ‘Do I subject myself to the possibility of not being able to make the rent or not being able to feed my child?’” Caballero said.

A DPH spokeswoman said, by law, all COVID-19 results need to be reported to the state.

The state said it continues to work on the technical systems and guidance on how to get the different types of test results into one place.

FDA approves 1st self-test COVID-19 kit for home use