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The Detect COVID-19 test. Image: Detect, Inc.

A new COVID-19 molecular test delivers PCR-quality results to users at home in one hour.

The big picture: The new test is a sign of the innovation COVID has sparked in the home diagnostics industry, bringing the power of the lab into the home.

How it works: The new test from Detect, a Connecticut-based health tech company, "takes the accuracy of a PCR test in the lab and puts it in a form factor that makes it easy for anyone to use and inexpensive enough for anyone to afford," says Eric Kauderer-Abrams, Detect's chief technology officer.

  • Users take a swab sample from each nostril, which is then mixed with freeze-dried chemical reagents contained in the cap of a small plastic tube.
  • After being placed in the reusable Detect hub, the test searches for and amplifies the genetic code of any SARS-CoV-2 virus in the sample, similar to the way a PCR test works in a professional lab.
  • After an hour, the liquid-fueled tube is placed in a reader containing a lateral flow strip, with positive or negative results expressed with a single line, like an at-home pregnancy test, with a connected app that guides the process and can be used to verify and share results.

By the numbers: The Detect test is 97.3% accurate, on par with a PCR lab test and better than existing rapid at-home antigen tests that look for the immune response to infection.

  • Detect's test earned an emergency use authorization from the FDA late last month, and the company recently received an $8.1 million contract from the NIH's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Initiative to scale up manufacturing at its Connecticut location.

Between the lines: The hub is reusable and reagents can be reprogrammed to search for other viruses. The company's long-term vision "is that you'll be able to get a flu test or a COVID test or whatever you need, at home," says Owen Kaye-Kauderer, Detect's chief business officer.

The catch: With a retail price of $49 per test — not including the $39 reusable hub — the Detect test is still much more expensive than rapid antigen tests that are less accurate but generally reliable when it comes to identifying people when they are actively contagious.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require vaccine or test for indoor dining

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

New vaccine-or-test requirements for indoor dining and drinking in Minneapolis and St. Paul take effect Wednesday.

The big picture: A growing number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago and New York, have instituted similar requirements in an effort to protect public health.

Yes, but: Questions about enforcement, logistics and effectiveness of the temporary measures here remain.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.