Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) using specimens collected from nasopharyngeal and/or oropharyngeal swabs is the standard screening approach for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While PCR is rapid and highly accurate, it requires costly laboratory equipment and healthcare professionals that limit its use for large-scale screening of mild or asymptomatic patients. Self-collection kits for use in the home could remedy this and have consequently received great attention. In April, 2020, a self-collection kit from LapCorp was the first such kit to be approved by the FDA. In the following month, May 2020, another kit developed by Everlywell received FDA approval, and more kits are evidently on their way to the market in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Because these home-based, self-collection kits are easy to use and may be more acceptable for patients, they provide a superior screening option for mild or asymptomatic patients under self-quarantine. These kits conserve personal protective equipment and healthcare manpower already in short supply. The primary issues affecting the efficacy of this approach are the potential for inappropriate sampling and insufficient clinical examination. A detailed review of the commercially available kits currently available is provided and their prospective impact is noted during the current pandemic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)