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Walmart chain offering home COVID-19 test kits

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Customers of Walmart and Sam’s Club can buy home test kits for COVID-19. 

The chain, which operates close to 150 stores in Alabama, said the kits are available online. Walmart and Sam’s Club are offering the kits in partnership with a California-based company. This isn’t the home kit approved by the FDA last month.

Dr. Richard Friend is the Dean of the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences and said the concern with these kits is how test results are confirmed.

“Until we’re able to validate how well these test kits work, we really can’t say whether we recommend them, or whether or not we don’t,” Friend said.

The FDA issued an emergency authorization for a different test made by a company called LuciraHealth. That kit won’t be available until spring of next year. These kits are meant to be used at home once a doctor suspects a patient may have the coronavirus. The FDA calls this the first self-administered coronavirus test that can provide results at home in around 30 minutes.

Friend said he worries about the accuracy of these tests.

"There are several issues with these home test kits, and we’ll work our way through, in time. But, there’s no perfect test yet. And there certainly won’t be a perfect home kit for some time,” he said.

The FDA said healthcare providers are required to report the home test kit results to public health authorities. LuciraHealth said it’s developed box labeling and instructions for patients and health care providers to assist with reporting test results.

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