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Local company creates self-administered COVID-19 test

Helix test doesn't need medical supervision
Posted at 12:14 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 15:14:19-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego-based Helix has new FDA Emergency approval for its COVID-19 test that will make getting a test easier.

The test is now approved for self-administration and for asymptomatic people to take.

That means testing sites can give more tests without having to increase their staffing levels.

"It simplifies the collection," says Dr. James Lu, the President of Helix. "You can do it without having to have another person watching you."

The test is also much simpler than the traditional upper nasal swab, as it only requires the lower area of the nostril to be swabbed.

"It actually just goes into the anterior narrows of the nostril area, and you just rotate it five times in each nostril," says Dr. Lu.

"It can be totally done by yourself, is completely painless, and it takes less than 30 seconds."

RELATED: University City lab switches gears to create COVID-19 tests

However, unlike home-pregnancy tests or DNA swab kits, Dr. Lu says Helix's COVID test still needs to be done in a clinical setting, so medical professionals can report the results and advise patients after they get results.

"We still think it's essential to have a physician in the loop, particularly for those cases where you do have positives," says Dr. Lu. "Those patients do need to be reported, and also make sure they have the right guidance in terms of quarantine."

The simpler, self-administered swab could also make people more likely to get tested since they don't have to go through the old way of testing, which involved a swab shoved all the way up their nasal cavity.

More testing also means more people will know if they're sick even if they don't have symptoms. That will make it easier for businesses and schools to reopen in the future.

"We believe that accurate and easily available, fast turnaround testing is essential to controlling the disease," says Dr. Lu. "And it's essential for identifying individuals who are sick or potentially spreaders so they can quarantine."

Helix plans to make 100,000 of the newly approved tests every day. Around 5,000 of them will go to San Diego testing sites. The rest will be sent across the country.