Two of health company Wellness 4 Humanity’s new vending machines, which sell DIY at-home COVID have made their way towards Manhattan at a storefront on 225 W. 34th St. Anyone who is wanting to get themselves or someone they know, tested for the virus, can do so by paying $149 by card, and grabbing a PCR saliva test, dispensed from the machine.
Once you get hold of the test from the machine, you can use it at your leisure, mail it to one of the company’s partner labs via FedEx with a pre-printed label and get your results via text or email in 48 hours. Easy!
There are obviously concerns about the accuracy of these home tests, but to put your mind at ease, researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center found that, in the detection of COVID-19, a self-collected saliva sample is as accurate as a nasal swab administered by a health care worker.
Speaking to the NY Post, Lauren Folland, 24, of Jamaica, Queens, who got a test from the machine on Monday after flying home from a Fresno, California, funeral said, “I wanted to get something quick that would be reliable. The machine-dispensed kit felt like the most luxurious way to get tested: You don’t have to sit in your car. You just go and pick up the test and do it at home and deal with scheduling.”
Experts say that DIY kits can help curb the virus’ spread by minimizing exposure to health care workers and other, potentially infected people, and by reducing turnaround times.
“The use of self-collected saliva has the potential to minimize health care worker exposure and decrease the need for specialized collection devices, such as swabs and viral transport media,” said Esther Babady, director of the Clinical Microbiology Service at MSK, in December.
In the near future, Wellness 4 Humanity aims to install the machines in other major cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Dallas. The Oakland International Airport already has them, and some colleges have also recently installed COVID test-dispensing vending machines, including the University of California in San Diego.