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Anyone can now get a coronavirus test at home for $119

Updated Apr 29th, 2020 4:00PM EDT
Coronavirus Immunity Test
Image: ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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  • A large network of labs is now selling at-home coronavirus test kits for $119.
  • The test will tell you whether you’ve developed COVID-19 antibodies if you suspect you’ve had an asymptomatic version of the disease.
  • The test will not confirm an existing COVID-19 infection, and there are plenty of things you should be aware of before going forward with it.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Getting a coronavirus test is a lot easier than it used to be a few weeks ago, although testing availability still isn’t where it should be. Some countries like Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, South Korea, and Taiwan showed what proper testing can do, especially when it’s combined with contact tracing. Germany experienced a significant caseload but a low mortality rate, while the others managed to significantly slow the spread of the virus. That said, not everyone might be able to score a test in some countries, especially if you’re not experiencing any symptoms.

If you think you’ve been infected with the novel coronavirus at some point in the past, most COVID-19 tests performed in a hospital or at a testing site isn’t good either. That one will only detect the viral presence in a nose or tracheal swab. But if you’ve survived the infection, you need an immunity test to confirm it. Those are serological tests that look for antibodies in the bloodstream to prove you’ve beaten COVID-19, and they’re really not widespread yet. But if you want to check for coronavirus antibodies, you can now order an at-home test for $119.

The coronavirus test kit comes from QuestDirect and it will deliver results in one or two days. The test checks only for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in the bloodstream, which don’t typically present themselves until between 10 to 18 days after infection. That’s to say that you can only use this test if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus and survived the infection at some point in March. You must understand this test will not tell you whether you still have the coronavirus in your system because it does not detect immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies.

Quest’s test is helpful if you know for sure that you had COVID-19 and you want to check your immune system’s response to the novel coronavirus. Whatever answer you get, it might not be relevant and it still warrants a discussion with your doctor. The product page notes that the test can sometimes detect antibodies related to other coronaviruses, and can deliver a false-positive result. If you test too soon after recovering from the disease, your IgG levels might not be high enough to be detectable, so you’d get a false-negative.

There’s been an increasing talk lately about immunity testing and some authorities will begin such campaigns to gauge the actual spread of the virus. Experts have voiced their concerns about some tests, which proved to be unreliable.

Rather than spending $119 on a test that might not yield results, you’d be better off checking with your local hospital and seeing if they’re running any COVID-19 plasma treatment trials. That would be a better way to get tested for antibodies if you think you’ve survived the infection. Plasma donors are checked for COVID-19 antibodies because that’s precisely what severe coronavirus patients need.

Make sure you check out all the info on this page before ordering the QuestDirect test kit.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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