Amazon launches at-home COVID-19 test kit for $39.99

Amazon COVID-19 test kit. (Amazon image)

Amazon has launched an at-home COVID-19 test kit for U.S. customers, the company announced today. Customers receive the nasal-swab kit via Amazon Prime delivery, at no extra cost, and send it via pre-paid next-day delivery to Amazon’s diagnostic laboratory in Kentucky, with results expected within 24 hours, according to a company statement.

The test is based on PCR, the same approach used by the city of Seattle and other public health efforts nationwide that detects viral nucleic acids. The test is distinct from an antibody-based test, which detects viral proteins and picks up fewer early-stage infections.

The new test builds on Amazon’s in-house COVID-19 testing program, which has processed millions of tests from more than 750,000 employees, according to the company. The at-home test is self-administered, and received FDA clearance through an emergency use authorization, on May 28, through an Amazon subsidiary, STS Lab Holdco.

“The Amazon collection kit offers customers the convenience they’ve come to expect from Amazon.com by providing access to COVID-19 testing whenever and wherever they need it,” said Cem Sibay, the Amazon vice president leading the company’s COVID-19 testing work, in the statement.

After receiving a test kit, customers register it through Amazon’s website AmazonDx.com, where they can watch a video about how to use the kit and access their results. The site was available publicly more than a week ago, but kits were not yet online. They are now available at Amazon.com.

“Even as COVID-19 vaccinations continue, widespread access to reliable and affordable COVID-19 testing remains a critical tool in the fight against the spread of the virus,” added Sibay in the statement.

The new COVID-19 testing service adds to Amazon’s health care offerings, including its Halo health band and service, cloud services for healthcare and life sciences, and its prescription delivery service Amazon Pharmacy.

Amazon Pharmacy was launched in November 2020, building on the company’s acquisition of PillPack in 2018. GeekWire tested that service recently, with mixed results, for a recent Health Tech Podcast.

“Healthcare is going to become a bigger and bigger component of what their strategy is going to be, from every angle,” said John Rossman, a former Amazon business leader and the author of The Amazon Way, in a recent episode of GeekWire’s Day 2 podcast.

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Amazon Health/life sciences Cem sibay Covid-19