I’ve tried a dozen at-home Covid tests over the previous yr. If it’s on the shelf at a drugstore, pharmacy, or grocery retailer, I’ve in all probability used it a number of occasions. But at any time when I open a take a look at like BinaxNow or QuickVue, I nonetheless attain for the instruction guide, principally out of worry that I’ll mess up a vital step. It’s been a continuing reminder of why I desire utilizing Cue Health’s Cue Reader diagnostic tool over another at-home take a look at. It’s freed from tubes, options, cassettes, and take a look at strips.
I wasn’t all the time a fan of this Covid-19 take a look at equipment. Last yr, I initially handed on recommending it resulting from its mind-boggling $444 beginning worth, which has since dropped to $394 (and remains to be costly). It simply felt fallacious throughout a pandemic when tens of millions of people were losing jobs and slicing bills because of the unpredictable occasions. It was a lot wiser to only spend roughly $25 on an at-home take a look at (half of which was covered by insurance) and obtain eight free tests per month. Plus, there was all the time the choice to take a free Covid take a look at at a neighborhood testing web site.
However, the Biden administration has suspended its free at-home Covid take a look at program resulting from a lack of funding from Congress. The federal funding without spending a dime Covid testing areas and partial insurance coverage protection for at-home assessments (along with free vaccines and treatment) are additionally running out. This may imply that restocking your at-home stash might change into dearer these subsequent few months. Suddenly, investing in a Cue Reader doesn’t really feel so outlandish.
A Compact and Speedy Machine
Cue Health’s at-home take a look at facilities round a small central hub referred to as the Cue Reader, which might detect a virus’ genetic materials. Known as a molecular take a look at, it’s sometimes extra correct than an antigen (also referred to as a speedy take a look at) and corresponding to a polymerase chain response (PCR) take a look at, with the flexibility to determine small traces of SARS-CoV-2 earlier—probably even a day or two earlier than you begin feeling any signs. That can be critical when attempting to stop the unfold of the virus. Cue says its take a look at has an accuracy charge of 97.8 % (simply behind the single-use Lucira at-home molecular test, which the corporate claims is 98 % correct). According to this independent study, Cue’s at-home molecular take a look at additionally demonstrated 99.4% accuracy in comparison with lab-based PCR assessments.
The Cue Reader is compact and doesn’t look ugly. I hold it on my desk, however I also can see it resting on an entryway desk or kitchen counter. It’s simple to journey with too. I threw it in my baggage after I went to California this previous summer time, however I additionally stash it in my duffle after I go residence to go to my mother and father. It’s rechargeable, so that you don’t have to fret about changing batteries (I simply hold it plugged in at my desk).
What I like most about this technique is definitely taking the take a look at—one thing I by no means thought I’d say. Yes, you continue to must swab your nostrils, however the remainder is simply so darn simple and doesn’t really feel like a science experiment. There aren’t any tubes of answer. Instead, the Cue Reader handles every little thing. It works by way of Bluetooth, so that you’ll want a smartphone to make use of the Reader, but it surely’s easy to arrange. Download the app, make an account, and pair the Cue Reader to your telephone. When you’re able to take a take a look at, open the app for a walkthrough of every step. There are so few steps that it’s simple to memorize—no instruction guide wanted.
The Reader comes with just a few cartridges, and similar to the way you’d push Super Mario World into the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, you first must push one among these cartridges into the reader and watch for it to heat up. Once the app says the cartridge is prepared, swab your nostril with the included wand and insert it into the cartridge. That’s it! After 20 minutes, you possibly can test your outcomes in your telephone and, if wanted, ship the outcomes as a PDF by electronic mail or textual content. Cleanup can be a breeze, although maybe simply as wasteful as different at-home kits—take away the cartridge from the reader and throw it out.