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I did a coronavirus test at home: my unexpected results



For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

In the first few months of 2020, a COVID-19 test was almost impossible. Emergency rooms were overcrowded, clinic waiting rooms were full and Passage inspection stations had lines on the road. COVID-19 tests were so scarce that you had to show them serious symptoms even be considered for a test.

Now that we are almost approaching the final quarter of 2020, testing for the novel coronavirus is as easy as clicking through a few screens on your smartphone. Just about anyone can be tested for COVID-19, thanks in part to home test kits made by home health brands like LetsGetChecked and Everlywell.

I was curious about coronavirus test kits for the home so decided to try one from LetsGetChecked.

For full disclosure, I have never experienced COVID-19 symptoms and have not knowingly been in contact with anyone infected with COVID-19. For this reason I am not authorized to order the test online. So I requested a test kit from the company to test the experience.

Continue reading: How long will it take for the coronavirus test results to be available again?

How to get a coronavirus test at home


The coronavirus test kit for at home from LetsGetChecked.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

From September 2020, eight COVID-19 tests will be available at home to consumers. This includes tests from LetsGetChecked, Everlywell, Pixel from Labcorp, Vault, Hims, Hers, Phosphor and Picture from Fulgent Genetics.

Some brands, including LetsGetChecked, released coronavirus home testing as early as March 2020. However, the FDA has quickly stopped production of these tests to ensure that there are no “unauthorized fraudulent test kits” on the market.

Continue reading: Best DNA Test of 2020: 23andMe vs. AncestryDNA and more

The FDA later administered Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 test kits at home that met certain criteria – namely, that the FDA recognized the value of the product and believed it could detect SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus COVID-19. The entire list of EUAs for the novel coronavirus can be found on the FDA website.

Now, a few months after the pandemic started, you can easily get a home coronavirus test – it’s like buying anything else on the internet except having a pre-screening test to make sure you’re for the Test are eligible.

LetsGetChecked coronavirus test at home


Unpack the test kit.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

I took the COVID-19 at home test from LetsGetChecked, a fairly well-known name in the home testing kit market. The LetsGetChecked coronavirus home testing kit is $ 119 and uses a bottom nasal swab.

To order the test, you need to fill out the online questionnaire. The quiz asks about possible symptoms and your possible exposure to the novel coronavirus. You won’t qualify for the test if you have severe symptoms as the company says you should seek medical treatment for such symptoms.

You cannot perform the assessment twice. So be careful (and honest) when going through them.

Continue reading: 8 home health kits to test for celiac disease, fertility, and more

Unzip the test

The LetsGetChecked COVID-19 Home Test comes in a plain white box with the LetsGetChecked logo on it. In the packaging you will find several information cards, instructions for use, your test materials and a prepaid return label.

Make sure you have read all of the instructions before opening the test materials. There are a few steps that need to be taken before the test, including filling out an information card with your birthday, gender, date and time. Then register the test online. If you do not register the test online, it will not be processed and you will never receive your results.

Take the test


The test tube for collecting your sample.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

I was pretty nervous about taking the test because I had heard terrible reports of COVID-19 testing (some exact words I heard are, “I swear the swab was in my brain” – ick). However, the LetsGetChecked coronavirus test is a lower nasal swab, which means you don’t feel “in your brain”.

For a lower nasal swab, all you need to do is insert the supplied swab into your nostril, swirl it around for 10 seconds, and repeat in the other nostril. Some other home coronavirus tests involve taking saliva samples instead of nasal swabs. Based on my previous experience with medical tests and clinical studies, I believe that the lower nasal swab is less intense than the “spit in a tube” method.

The test was very easy to perform and did not cause me any pain or discomfort, although I felt like sneezing about a hundred times when I wiped it. Fortunately, there was no uncontrollable sneezing.

LetsGetChecked offers phenomenally detailed instructions so I was sure I got everything right throughout the process. I think it would be quite difficult to send back an invalid pattern as the step-by-step instructions don’t leave much room for error. A booklet is included in your package, but you will also receive the instructions online with videos when you register your test.

Send the test back

LetsGetChecked provides a prepaid label and shipping instructions so sending the test kit back is very easy. Just follow the instructions on the box and leave the package outside for UPS to pick it up. Remember that you need to return the package on the same day you do your test, otherwise your sample may be compromised.

My results and final thoughts


The information card you need to fill in to return your sample.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

Overall, this process was incredibly simple and easy to use. I can’t speak for other coronavirus home tests, like the one from EverlyWell, Pixel by Labcorp, or Phosphorus, but I imagine a similar process: you do a qualifying assessment, buy a test, get it shipped, take the test and return it with a prepaid shipping label.

I received my results within three days of my sample arriving at the testing lab (website states that it takes up to 72 hours after receiving it). Although I felt so safe while taking the sample, something obviously went wrong with my test. I excitedly opened the email with my results, only to be disappointed with the result: “curdled”.

I wasn’t sure what this meant and the results page said little more than “This doesn’t mean you have COVID-19” followed by some instructions on how to take precautions in case I have the disease. I reached out to the company for clarification and LetsGetChecked told me that while it is rare to get a “curdled” result.

LetsGetChecked said it could really be anything – maybe my test tube wasn’t sealed properly, or maybe the package was on my porch too long before a UPS driver picked it up.

I’ve decided to try again in the hope that I can get a valid sample next time. When I get my new results I will be back to update this story.

My second round

As promised, I ordered another COVID-19 home test from LetsGetChecked to see if I was getting real, insightful results. Of course, since I’ve shown symptoms of the novel coronavirus like never before (and certainly not within the time frame in which I took the test), I expected a negative.

And that’s what I got – luckily no self-isolation for me!

Overall, I’m happy with this process, even though my first test didn’t go as planned. LetsGetChecked is not responsible for the invalid result. A LetsGetChecked spokesperson also said the company usually sends a free test to people who receive an invalid result. This provides a level of security for anyone who is nervous about spending more than $ 100 on a coronavirus test.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions about a disease or health goals.

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