New York City now offers an option for residents to purchase an at-home Covid test kit from a vending machine.
The innovative option was introduced to the metropolitan city in January through Wellness 4 Humanity, a health company that sells DIY at-home testing kits for Covid-19.
A store front located at 225 W 34th Street, which was formerly a Lane Bryant, in Manhattan now serves as the location for the vending machine. Residents can purchase the $149 test with a credit or debit card.
To use, the PCR saliva test includes all the materials one needs to test for Covid-19 through swapping their mouth. The user then mails it to one of the company’s partner labs through FedEx and will receive their results via text or email within 48 hours.
Another vending machine similar to the one in Manhattan has been placed in Oakland International Airport. Wellness 4 Humanity has also pushed for more vending machines to be placed in states across the United States in locations like airports to provide easy access to Americans.
One New York resident, Lauren Folland, told the New York Post that she used the vending machine to get tested prior to flying to California for a funeral service.
Testing has been a key step throughout the pandemic to help control the spread of the novel virus.
Health experts pushed for more sites and for at-home testing kits to be available for Americans to make testing more accessible.
Wellness 4 Humanity’s testing kit has not been approved for emergency use, but the FDA allows it to be used “when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.”
At-home tests would likely become more prevalent for Americans in the coming month.
The money from this deal, which was announced on 1 February, would scale-up the manufacturing of the at-home test so it could be more accessible to Americans. The test is offered over the counter at $30 per kit and sends the results to one’s phone.
With the money, Ellume would be able to produce 19 million at-home testing kits per month by the end of the year, 8.5 million of which were guaranteed for the federal government, said Andy Slavitt, a coronavirus adviser to President Joe Biden. The company would ship 100,000 at-home testing kits to the United States per month from February to July.
Other companies have also submitted requests to receive emergency use authorisation from the FDA for their own at-home testing kits.