USA – Abbott Laboratories has announced that its rapid test device, BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen Card, will be widely available again by the end of October.
The FDA had granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Abbott’s widely used BinaxNOW rapid test for use at home with a prescription via a virtually guided online service.
Because of its small size can be used in less traditional settings where people can get results in minutes, bringing an alternate testing technology to combat the novel coronavirus.
The BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card can be used as the first line of defense to identify currently infected people and should be isolated to help prevent disease spread.
BinaxNOW qualitatively detects SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein antigen in nasal swabs from people suspected of having COVID-19 by their healthcare provider within the first seven days of symptom onset.
Equally important, Abbott’s home test is affordable, accessible, and instills trust in the home-testing process. BinaxNOW, which costs US$25 inclusive of the shipping fee through eMed, is the cheapest at-home COVID-19 testing service available.
The test kit is combined with the NAVICA app, which can validate test results in the form of a digitally-authenticated NAVICA pass, ensuring the integrity of reporting so that public health officials have access to critical, real-time data on the disease and how it is spreading during the pandemic.
The company had previously announced that there would be a shortage of tests, though this is not due to the supply chain issues that many businesses are experiencing.
Abbott explained in a statement that when demand began to wane earlier this year, the company cut back on production.
However, the company began re-opening and hiring more workers at its plants in Illinois and Maine, following the recent surge of the Delta variant, which has resulted in changes in public health guidance.
Abbott CEO Robert Ford stated that by the end of October, the company will be producing as many tests as it did last year.
“So, the two manufacturing sites that we set up were built here in the U.S., and the majority of our suppliers are all U.S.-based. We are not seeing that crunch on supply chain when it comes to the BinaxNOW test,” he said.
Since hitting the shelves of major retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart (WMT), the price of a test kit, which includes two tests, has risen to between $14 and $24.
That still puts it ahead of competitors and new entrants. For instance, Ellume, recently recalled its at-home test kits.
Ellume’s test costs US$26 per test, which is more than three times the price of a single Abbott test.
Some experts have expressed concern about the cost of at-home tests, pointing to Europe and other parts of the world where tests are available for US$ 5 or less.
“I believe that we’ll continue to see improvement in costs and in prices, and it will become more and more and more accessible as we go forward,” Ford said.