The Gauss/Cellex rapid at-home COVID-19 test. Credit: Gauss

Gauss, a computer vision startup, and Cellex, a biotech company that works on diagnostics, are announcing the first rapid COVID-19 test that can be fully performed by people at home without involving a laboratory.

Why it matters: Experts agree that the U.S. still needs far more widespread testing to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. An antigen test that could be performed and provide results rapidly at home could help reduce testing delays and allow people to quickly find out whether they need to isolate because of a COVID-19 infection.

How it works: In the antigen test, which was developed by Cellex, a user will take a nasal swab to both nostrils, and then place the swab in a small vial filled with a buffer solution.

  • Four droplets from the tube are placed on a rapid test cassette, and test lines will show up of varying intensity, based on whether and how much virus is in the sample.
  • Users will then take a picture of the rapid test, and Gauss's app will use AI to deliver back the results — all within 15 minutes.

Of note: While other rapid diagnostics have been developed that allow users to test themselves at home, those earlier methods still required people to send in samples to a lab or health facility for processing.

  • The Gauss/Cellex diagnostic would be the first test that can be done to completion at home.
  • Cellex CEO James Li says the test demonstrates nearly 90% sensitivity — how often a test generates a correct positive result — compared to PCR tests, and nearly 100% specificity, or how often it produces a correct negative result.
What is important for COVID-19 pandemic management is that this is a tool that will allow people to self-monitor and self-isolate.
— James Li

What to watch: Whether the FDA gives the new test an Emergency Use Authorization, which would allow it to more rapidly come to market.

  • There's also the question of price, although Li says that "our goal is to make this assay as widely available as possible."

The bottom line: Quick and easy at-home tests would certainly help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and they show how the pandemic has accelerated the coming of distributed medicine.

Go deeper

18 hours ago - Sports

Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak

Cutouts of fans are afixed to seats before the game between the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The NFL announced Tuesday that three players and five staffers from the Tennessee Titans tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the temporary closure of the team's facility, ESPN reports.

Why it matters: It's the league's first outbreak during the season, which is not taking place in a "bubble," like the NBA and MLS, and looks set to test if its coronavirus protocols will hold.

17 hours ago - World

U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Exeter College on Sept. 29. Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The U.K. reached a new high for total positive coronavirus cases this last week, per the country's Health Ministry, and reported a record number of COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, per the BBC.

Driving the news: Top scientific advisers warned last week that the U.K. could see up to 50,000 coronavirus cases per day by mid-October if current growth continues.

Sep 29, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans won't take Trump's word on vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Note: Margin of error for the total sample is ±3.2%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Barely two in 10 Americans would take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine if President Trump told them it was safe — one of several new measures of his sinking credibility in the latest wave of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Details: Given eight scenarios and asked how likely they were to try the vaccine in each case, respondents said they'd be most inclined if their doctor vouched for its safety (62%), followed by insurance covering the full cost (56%) or the FDA saying it's safe (54%).