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

The company behind one of the new fully at-home COVID-19 tests is partnering with a digital health platform to deliver rapid diagnostics to consumers.

Why it matters: One of the biggest obstacles to at-home tests making a difference for the pandemic is delivering the tens of millions of kits that would be needed for regular, mass surveillance. The new partnership can help efforts scale up rapidly at a moment when the pandemic is spinning out of control and mass vaccination is still months away.

Driving the news: Gauss, a startup that develops computer vision-aided diagnostics for healthcare, is partnering with the digital health platform Truepill to speed the distribution of millions of rapid at-home COVID-19 tests, Axios can report first.

  • Gauss had previously partnered with the biotech startup Cellex to develop the at-home antigen COVID-19 tests, which can be taken and read at home using a smartphone, delivering results within 15 minutes.
  • The test is still awaiting emergency use authorization from the FDA — though Gauss expects approval to come through within days — and will be priced in the $30 range.
  • Gauss is working to produce a million tests over the next month, with plans to scale up to 30 million tests in the first quarter of 2021. Consumers will be able to order the tests from the Gauss website, with deliveries handled by Truepill, which already fulfills orders for direct to consumer drug brands like Hims.

Flashback: The FDA last week approved the first rapid, at-home coronavirus test — manufactured by Ellume and available across the counter without a prescription.

Context: While more than 200 million COVID-19 tests have been carried out by the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, most have been used to diagnose possible cases once symptoms have appeared, which does little to identify those who might be infectious before they can spread the virus.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.