The healthcare unit of US supermarket chain Kroger Co has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration had issued emergency use authorisation for its at-home sample collection kit for COVID-19.
The kits will be available to frontline workers across its businesses beginning this week, Kroger said, adding that it plans to expand availability to other companies in the coming weeks, with a goal of processing up to 60,000 tests per week by the end of July.
Home Collection Kit
Kroger said the home-collection of nasal swab sample needs to be performed under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional through video chat and the sample needs to be shipped overnight to a designated laboratory for processing.
The sample will be tested at the laboratory to detect parts of the coronavirus, which can be used to diagnose active infection with the virus. Most results will be confirmed in less than 72 hours, the company said.
The kit will initially be available in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. Additional states will be added in the coming weeks.
While self-sample collection helps reduce patient traffic at hospitals and minimise chances of infection for healthcare workers, experts have flagged concerns about whether patients can accurately collect samples on their own and ship them to labs.
The FDA in April authorised for emergency use the first COVID-19 diagnostic kit by LabCorp with at-home collection of nasal swab samples which are then sent to the company's labs for testing.