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Walmart, CVS and Walgreens to Sell At-Home COVID Test Kit

Patch logo Patch 4/19/2021 Eileen O'Gorman
graphical user interface, website: BinaxNOW is the cheapest and most accurate COVID-19 at-home test on the market right now, according to the Illinois-based company. The CDC confirmed the accuracy is the highest. © Photo Courtesy of Abbott. BinaxNOW is the cheapest and most accurate COVID-19 at-home test on the market right now, according to the Illinois-based company. The CDC confirmed the accuracy is the highest.

ILLINOIS—Lake Bluff-based company Abbott announced on Monday they would begin shipping a new at-home COVID-19 test to three of the largest retailers before the product becomes available nationwide.

The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Self Test can be purchased at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart. The test is currently the United States' most studied rapid test and does not require a prescription.

The company plans to roll out the test nationwide in the next two weeks. Abbott already manufactures a professional antigen test used by hospitals and other agencies. This will be their first test that can be taken completely from home, without having to mail your sample to a lab.

A statement from Abbott said the ability to grab a testing kit off the shelf was what the company always envisioned.

"As you start your day, you can swab your nose, kick off your morning routine while waiting 15 minutes for the test results, get your status, and gain an extra boost of confidence before running out the door," said a spokesperson for Abbott in a statement.

The kit will come with two tests to be taken at least 36 hours apart to ensure more accurate results. The test itself is a common nasal swab, though it will be less invasive than the brain-tickling depth those who were tested frequently may be used to.

The test will retail for about $24, making it the most affordable over-the-counter test in the United States right now. While the test isn't FDA approved, it does have Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the government.

"Testing, whether at community testing sites or providers, is crucial to telling if individuals are infected. Testing helps keep our communities safe, allows us to travel and to hug and see loved ones, while still following CDC guidance to keep ourselves and others safe," said Julie Barber, Senior Vice President of Health & Wellness Merchandising at Walmart.

The test will be available for about $19 at Walmart and soon the Walmart-owned Sam's Club.

According to Abbott, the test is simple enough for people 15 and older to use themselves. Professionals warn against testing anyone younger than 2 years old on your own.

Compared with PCR testing, the BinaxNOW antigen test has a sensitivity of 64.2 percent for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and 35.8 percent for people without any symptoms. Overall, the BinaxNOW test had almost a 100 percent sensitivity for people with the COVID-19 viral load when used correctly, according to the CDC.

"The addition of this over-the-counter test in-store will help ensure our customers have access to testing solutions when and how they need it, at home or at one of our conveniently located testing sites," said John Standley, president of Walgreens.

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