Health startup Intrivo today announced the launch of a product that should help ease the nation’s current at-home COVID-19 testing supply shortage.
On/Go—the Miami-based company’s testing platform—provides users with a rapid, at-home COVID-19 self-test that delivers results with 95% accuracy within 10 minutes, according to Intrivo. The company has received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and won a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to distribute “tens of millions” of On/Go tests to 25,000 locations across the country that are among the most vulnerable populations in need of rapid testing, including the National Guard, military bases, long-term-care facilities, and homeless shelters.
Rapid tests—also known as antigen tests—have been in high demand. Over the past two months, both the White House and the Centers for Disease Control have commented on the lack of availability of COVID-19 at-home rapid tests. CVS currently notifies customers looking to purchase a home test online that “due to high demand, deliveries may be delayed.” Other pharmacies like Walgreens are also struggling to keep up with demand for over-the-counter rapid tests and have been limiting the number that customers can purchase at a time. Even as the Delta wave has begun to recede, the New York Times COVID-19 tracker shows that there are still over roughly 1.5 million COVID-19 tests done in the U.S. each day, near an all-time peak.
With this in mind, the U.S. government recently purchased $1.2 billion worth of COVID-19 rapid tests from Abbott Laboratories and Celltrion. It also has agreements in place to purchase tests from Quidel, OraSure Technologies, and Intrivo, according to Reuters.
Intrivo will not just be selling its tests to the DOD—the populations included within that deal will be provided with On/Go test kits free of charge after the DOD purchased them from Intrivo at a reduced rate—but also to both large and small businesses and individual consumers. The company, which began development of this product roughly 18 months ago according to its co-CEOs, manufactures the tests within the U.S. and claims to have “the ability to ship tens of millions of tests monthly and hundreds of millions of tests yearly.”
The cost for a package of two tests is not exactly cheap. It sells for $34.99 on Intrivo’s website, Amazon, and Walmart. Other similar FDA-authorized antigen tests, including Abbott’s BinaxNOW and Quidel’s QuickVue, retail for about $23.99 for two tests.
Once the On/Go test kit is purchased, customers download the mobile app, available on both iOS and Android, which provides instructions on how to complete the test, scans samples, and sends results within 10 minutes. Intrivo said that the test correctly gives a positive result 87% of the time and a negative result 98% of the time. That gives the test an overall accuracy of greater than 95%, according to the company. It works for both asymptomatic and symptomatic users, though it is more accurate with symptomatic users.
Many have criticized the high cost of rapid tests in the U.S. Other countries such as the U.K. and Germany, as a result of government subsidies, have made over-the-counter COVID-19 rapid tests both widely available and inexpensive—or in many cases free.
Correction, Oct. 19, 2021: A previous version of this article misidentified the location of Intrivo’s headquarters.
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