Multiple over-the-counter COVID-19 tests will be available at stores nationwide beginning this week, part of the ongoing effort to defeat the pandemic by making testing more widely available in tandem with vaccination.
Abbott announced Monday that its BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Self Test will be available at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart this week, both in stores and online. The health care and diagnostics company said it plans to make the test available at other food, drug and mass retailers in the coming weeks.
The test can be purchased without a prescription. Abbott said it will be sold in two-count packs for a suggested retail price of $23.99, "making it the most affordable OTC COVID-19 rapid test available in the U.S."
The company received an emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 self-test from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March.
A provided image shows Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Self Test, which one of three at-home COVID-19 tests that will be available at U.S. retailers starting this week. (Photo credit: Provided / Abbott Laboratories)
CVS Health on Monday also announced it would offer two other COVID-19 tests at its stores, in addition to Abbott’s BinaxNOW test. The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test and the Pixel by Labcorp PCR Test Home Collection Kit are now available and also do not require a prescription.
Ellume’s home COVID-19 test sells for $38.99. It was the first rapid, fully at-home test to receive an FDA emergency use authorization back in December. The test delivers results in 15 minutes through a free app downloaded to a smartphone.
The U.S. government previously awarded a $231.8 million contract to Ellume, an Australian company, in order to help increase the availability of testing for the virus.
The Pixel by Labcorp Home Collection Kit, also available on CVS.com and in select stores in Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, sells for $119.99. The PCR — or polymerase chain reaction — test is the same test used by physicians across the U.S. with results typically are available within one to two days.
All three COVID-19 tests can be used by individuals with or without COVID-19 symptoms.
Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, health experts have stressed the need for more fast, widespread home testing so that people can screen themselves and avoid contact with others if they have an infection. But most tests still require a nasal swab performed by a health worker that must be processed at high-tech laboratories.
"Access to testing continues to be an important part of the nation's pandemic response. Making OTC COVID-19 tests available to our customers helps remove barriers by providing convenient options for testing," CVS Pharmacy Senior Vice President George Coleman said in a statement.
The testing availability comes on the same day President Joe Biden has made all U.S. adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Folks, I have good news. Everybody is eligible as of today to get the vaccine," Biden said in a pre-recorded video shared on social media. "We have enough of it. You need to be protected. And you need, in turn, to protect your neighbors and your family. So please, get the vaccine."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced over the weekend that half of all U.S. adults — or more than 131 million people — have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Roughly 84.2 million adults, or about 32.5% of the total adult population, have been fully vaccinated.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.