LabCorp announced plans to launch a new at-home COVID-19 diagnostic that allows people to also get tested for the flu and respiratory syncytial virus from a single sample.
The combined test is currently offered through doctors’ offices, hospitals and other healthcare providers, while the future, home-based version will be made available through LabCorp’s Pixel service, pending the FDA’s review and authorization.
“The U.S. is facing the most challenging health crisis in a century and is about to enter flu season, which has the potential to put additional strain on our healthcare system and cost lives,” said Brian Caveney, LabCorp Diagnostics’ president and chief medical officer.
“Individuals infected with COVID-19, influenza A / B, or RSV, often experience similar symptoms of cough, fever, chest tightness, and body aches, providing a potential surge of patients seeking testing,” Caveney said.
Last year’s flu season, spanning October 2019 through this past March, totalled between 39 million and 56 million cases and 18 million to 26 million medical visits, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Today, the current U.S. total for COVID-19 infections stands at over 6.3 million, with nearly 190,000 deaths, while adding about 40,000 confirmed cases per day according to international health organizations.
By testing for four major respiratory viruses at home, LabCorp hopes to provide a more efficient way for people to receive a correct diagnosis before seeking care.
The company’s Pixel self-collection kit—previously greenlit by the FDA for COVID-19 in mid-April—includes a short nasal swab designed for the lower portion of the nostril, compared to longer swabs for the deeper recesses of the nose.
Among all its diagnostic offerings, LabCorp said it has performed more than 13 million molecular tests since March nationwide, and has recently increased its capacity to at least 200,000 tests per day.