LENEXA, Kan. — Even with the COVID-19 vaccine becoming available, experts say we still have a long road ahead. They warn people need to keep using precautions and get tested if they experience symptoms.
Now Walgreens and a Lenexa-based lab are making testing a little easier.
Clinical Research Laboratory announced Tuesday its partnership with Walgreen’s Find Care. Together they’re making at-home COVID-19 tests more available and accurate.
The retail store evaluated dozens of different tests and chose CRL’s FDA-approved Rapid Response test. It’s the first saliva-based product on Walgreen’s Find Care app and website.
“Hundreds of thousands of people go there every day,” Clinical Research Laboratory CEO Robert Thompson said.
It’s all about access, he said. The test is $119, and it’s covered by insurance if you’re showing symptoms.
People can purchase a test Monday, overnight it to their door by Tuesday and get results 1-2 days later on the their phone.
“I think there’s a subtle change coming in the way that we’re going to test for COVID,” Thompson said.
“We’ve had 64 million Americans vaccinated as of today, which represents about 13% of the population,” Clinical Research Laboratory Chief Scientific Officer Heather Fehling said. “So there’s still a substantial amount of the population that is unvaccinated. So we need to be very vigilant. “
As more than 80% of Americans have yet to be vaccinated right now, and kids 17 and younger don’t get the option to get vaccinated, Thompson said they’re offering a solution for schools.
“As that swing happens, we’re not going to need the mass testing sites anymore,” Thompson said. “We need tests that are available to people in their home or at the physician office.”
Kansas Health Director Dr. Lee Norman said it could allow the state to save costs on expensive testing sites.
“To have a highly reliable sensitive and specific home COVID test would be a way that would allow us to stand down some of these fairly expensive testing centers,” he said.
Fehling said this test is the accurate answer.
“Our FDA studies show that it was more accurate than the interior nasal swab test,” she said.
The at-home saliva test even picks up new variants of the virus, according to Fehling.
“And we monitor the new variants every week to make sure we’re in a good spot,” Thompson said.
If you would like to purchase a test, visit the Walgreen’s Find Care website.