Amazon may be known for its delivery service, but that does not mean it cannot “deliver” aid in spreading COVID-19 to others. According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of our employees and others, and we have invested $10 billion in 2020 on COVID related initiatives to keep people safe and get products to customers”. In order to further the safety of Amazon customers, the company is now selling a $110 COVID test anyone can take at home.
The test, manufactured by a lab called DXTerity, is a small vial that uses a saliva sample rather than an uncomfortable nasal swab to test for COVID. Results of this test, according to the company, were proven to be 99.5% accurate. The sample is sent to a lab and, within a day at most, results are sent whether the patient may be carrying the virus. This process not only eliminates the need for waiting on line to get tested, but it also eliminates the risk of picking up the virus while around others waiting their turn. According to Amazon user Rick Stella, “the test works just as advertised, and its both safe and convenient”.
The packaging of the COVID test comes in a small box with three main parts. There is a step-by-step instruction manual about how to conduct the test, a specimen bag, and a sample collector. The sample collector comes in its own packaging to ensure the item itself is not carrying COVID. There is also a funnel which connects to the sample collector as well as a cap that seals the tube just to improve convenience. There is even a return label pre-attached to the box so there’s no need to buy a postage or print the return label.
The test itself requires the user to spit into the tube until it has reached a clear black line. Bubbles in the saliva do not count as the test only permits saliva. Therefore, the user cannot eat or drink a half hour before taking the test. Once the tube is full, the cap is replaced which, in addition to sealing the tube, uses a solution that mixes with the saliva so it is not contaminated. The tube is finally sealed into a biohazard bag and placed into the DXTerity Box so that it could be sent back for testing at the lab. The process takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Stella, in his review of the process, states “At home COVID-19 tests are designed for convenience and ease-of-use and DXTerity certainly pulls that off. The instructions are clear and easy to understand, the process is intuitive, and the online account created for it even offers a level of personalization”.
With such a high level of convenience, there are certainly a few drawbacks to this method. For example, $110 must be paid up-front for the service, meaning an insurance plan is not guaranteed to provide reimbursement. Also, while the test is more accurate than inaccurate, to ensure safety, the company wants 100% accurate results. Still, the benefits have outweighed the deficits and millions of Americans are opting to use DXTerity to check for COVID. Stella sums it up best, “Being able to buy an in-home COVID-19 test on Amazon is a major step forward in bringing testing to more people”.