Companies with experience in the “at-home” testing market began announcing in mid-March that they would be offering direct-to-consumer test kits for COVID-19.
With panic running high and tests at hospitals and doctors’ offices hard to come by, the appeal was obvious.
The kits were touted as a way for consumers to manage this difficult situation themselves. No struggle to see the doctor. No calls to the health department. No waiting in line at a drive-thru test site. Instead, consumers could collect their own samples, by either swabbing the throat or cheek or spitting into a cup. The samples would then be mailed back to the companies’ partner laboratories, which would test for the coronavirus. Prices ranged from $135 to $181.