Amazon has begun selling its own test kits for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) for $39.99. These kits claim to be based on real-time, polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. The kit was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in March.
The nasal swab test comes with instructions on how to provide the company with genetic samples. The sample must be placed in a box with a prepaid shipping return label included in the kit.
The test results will be examined at an Amazon lab, and the results will be available on the company’s diagnostics web page within 24 hours after samples arrive at the lab. This diagnostics website was originally designed to show test results from coronavirus tests administered to Amazon employees.
Customers who wish to view the results of their tests can log in to the diagnostics web page using the same credentials from their regular Amazon accounts.
Amazon’s at-home test kit does not detect antibodies nor confirms immunity against COVID-19. Despite these limitations, the company announced that the tests are still valid for travel in the U.S., except for Hawaii, and in select international locations.
“We are excited by the opportunity to continue innovating not only on behalf of the health and safety of our employees and their families, but for our customers too,” said an Amazon spokesperson in a statement to Fox Business.
In February, Amazon announced that it had been able to provide over one million COVID-19 tests to frontline employees across the country. In addition to that, over 500,000 of Amazon’s employees, contractors and partners were given access to coronavirus vaccination sites at 250 locations across 37 states.
As of May 2021, Amazon has COVID-19 testing facilities in 13 states, including Washington, where the company’s headquarters is located. (Related: CDC coronavirus test kits distributed across America found to produce false negatives due to failed test kit reagents.)
At-home COVID-19 test kits becoming more common
In addition to its own at-home RT-PCR testing kit, Amazon also sells coronavirus testing kits from other companies, including a rapid 10-minute testing kit from a healthcare diagnostics company and another, much more expensive testing kit from a genomics company.
The first emergency use authorization given to an over-the-counter and fully at-home COVID-19 test kit was granted in Dec. 2020. Since then, the FDA has authorized dozens of at-home test kits. Many of these are available online, and many of them can be purchased without a prescription.
At-home testing for COVID-19 has become very popular. Many colleges and universities have been using them on their students returning to campus from lockdowns or other breaks. Students are required to swab themselves at home and ship their tests to a lab in order to be allowed back to campus for the upcoming semester.
The coronavirus pandemic caused a sharp increase in other forms of at-home medical care. This led to the rise of at-home testing services, such as at-home colon cancer screening.
This kind of healthcare has become so popular that even Amazon is attempting to expand into the world of medicine. In March, the company announced the creation of Amazon Care. This is a market-wide expansion of a service that was originally only available to its own employees.
Amazon Care allows patients to have virtual meetings with doctors. Customers can even order nurses to their homes to conduct physical exams or draw blood through Amazon Care.
Along with Amazon Care, the massive company also announced the creation of Amazon Pharmacy, a service that allows people to order prescription medication and get it delivered straight to their homes. The service boasts about selling medicine for prices that are generally lower than average.
Learn more about how corporations like Amazon are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.