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Walgreens now sells at-home saliva COVID tests

Connecticut Post logo Connecticut Post 2/24/2021 By Amanda Cuda
a close up of a sign: Walgreens is the latest retailer selling COVID-19 tests that allow people to test themselves at home by collecting their own saliva sample. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) © Provided by Connecticut Post

Walgreens is the latest retailer selling COVID-19 tests that allow people to test themselves at home by collecting their own saliva sample. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The pharmacy chain Walgreens announced Wednesday that it was making a rapid response COVID-19 saliva test available through one of its digital health platforms.

Walgreens is offering the Clinical Reference Laboratory’s Rapid Response COVID-19 Saliva Test (sold under the brand HealthConfirm) through Walgreens Find Care, a digital health platform available on the Walgreens app and Walgreens.com.

The new kit, one of several saliva-based tests on the market, allows consumers to conduct the test right in their homes.

Walgreens is the latest retailer to make saliva-based testing kits available to the public, with others including Walmart and Costco. Colleges, the film industry, sports leagues and other organizations have also used the method for a while, said Dr. Frank Illuzzi, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group’s medical director for Fairfield County.

graphical user interface, text: Walgreens is the latest retailer selling COVID-19 tests that allow people to test themselves at home by collecting their own saliva sample. Pictured is the Clinical Reference Laboratory HealthConfirm at home saliva testing kit. © Provided by Connecticut Post

Walgreens is the latest retailer selling COVID-19 tests that allow people to test themselves at home by collecting their own saliva sample. Pictured is the Clinical Reference Laboratory HealthConfirm at home saliva testing kit.

“Widespread screening and testing for SARS-CoV2 is an essential part of identifying COVID-19 disease in the community and isolating infected patients to prevent spread,” Illuzzi said in an emailed statement. “Unlike the initial phases of the pandemic last spring, there are now many testing opportunities available.”

The saliva test is one of these, Illuzzi said.

“This could be an option for folks who have difficulty getting to a testing site, or are squeamish about the nasal swab,” he said.

Using Walgreens Find Care, people can connect with CRL’s website to order the test — which costs $119 per kit — if they meet one or more of the clinical guidelines for COVID-19 testing.

Once the kit arrives, individuals register their test online, deposit a sample of their saliva in the collection vial provided with the kit, and then drop the sample off at a local FedEx location. A prepaid FedEx Priority Overnight shipping package is provided.

Once the lab receives the tests, results are usually available within 24 to 48 hours through a secure portal and are also delivered directly to people’s cellphones via text or landline by voice message. For those who test positive, an telemedicine provider will contact the patient to provide information on next steps.

The Walgreens pricing is close to that of other retailers. For instance, the Walmart kit retails for $125, and the Costco kit is priced at $116.99 or $118.99, depending on the type.

The test has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use authorization.

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