May 12, 2020 / 3:52 PM / 25 days ago

LabCorp expands availability of at-home sample collection kit for COVID-19 test

(Reuters) - LabCorp said on Tuesday its at-home sample collection kit for COVID-19 testing would now be available to all individuals with symptoms and possible exposure to the virus, after limiting delivery to healthcare workers during its launch last month.

The collection kit, with a list price of $119, consists of cotton swabs to collect nasal specimens, a biohazard specimen bag and a FedEx overnight shipping envelope to mail the samples to labs.

Customers can get the kit with no upfront out-of-pocket costs if they are found to be eligible after filling in a survey on the company’s website, LabCorp said.

The company said it would submit the claim to the individual’s health insurance agency, or the appropriate government program, in case the person does not have insurance.

At-home sample collection reduces the risk of transmitting the coronavirus to medical staff, but has possible shortcomings, including whether a patient can collect the sample properly and ship it safely to the lab.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it had worked with the company to ensure that data from its sample collection kit is as safe and accurate as it is at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing sites.

LabCorp said it currently has over 200,000 at-home collection kits and was prepared to significantly expand capacity as required.

In addition to its COVID-19 lab test launched early in March, LabCorp offers an antibody blood test that can confirm whether the person has ever been infected with the virus.

Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Sriraj Kalluvila

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