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The unlikely place to find home COVID-19 tests

If you’ve tried to buy a house COVID-19 test at a national drugstore chain in the past few weeks, you’ve probably written off. It won’t be any easier anytime soon either, as schools are once again welcoming students for in-person learning while the Omicron variant keep increasing – fueling increased demand for regular testing and further straining testing supplies.

But some savvy consumers have found that home COVID-19 tests are available from an unlikely source: the telemedicine company Ro. When it was founded in 2017, under the name Roman, the company marketed itself as a men’s healthcare company providing discreet treatments for conditions such as erectile dysfunction and hair loss.

Visit Ro’s website and you can purchase up to 12 packs of Intrivo Diagnostics On / Go COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Self-Test Kit per transaction. The only catch is that at $ 30 for two tests, the kits are slightly more expensive than varieties currently unavailable, like the BinaxNow Antigen Self-Test Kit from Abbott Labs, which, when in stock, comes in. retail for $ 23.99 at the CVS pharmacy.

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A screenshot of Ro’s COVID-19 test kit page shows the On / Go kits are currently in stock.

Ro


Driven by Omicron, the rate of COVID-19 cases has increased in the United States, with the number of positive cases peaking since the start of the pandemic. The seven-day average of new cases has climbed to nearly 340,000 from 187,000 a week ago, according to data from TD Securities.

Therefore, every variety of COVID-19 home test on the CVS Pharmacy website is currently to settle. Abbott’s BinaxNow Kit, Quidel’s QuickVue Home Test Kit, Orasure’s Inteliswab Rapid Test Kit, and the FlowFlex version are also all sold on the Walgreens website.

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A screenshot from CVS Pharmacy’s website showing rapid at-home COVID-19 tests sold out online.

CVS.com


Tracking the availability of Nowinstock.net products, which does the digital work for consumers, also indicates that almost all varieties of COVID-19 home testing are to settle in the vast landscape of online retail.

COVID-19 testing is among the hottest and most difficult things to secure right now, alongside video game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s Playstation, and Nintendo’s Switch, according to product trackers.

“I’ve been getting inquiries since the start of the new year,” Jonathan Allen, a product tracking expert best known for his social media nickname. “SupplyNinja“MoneyWatch told CBS.” It seems that after Christmas was over, people started to focus again on today’s current event – this virus. “

The Popular Coupon App Honeymoon Lists four types of home COVID tests among the most viewed items by users, including tests made by Binax, QuickVue, Homeflex and InteliSwab. Other tracking applications, including ZooLert and Brickseek, have also started to monitor the availability of test kits.

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COVID Tests on Honey.com

Honey screenshot


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A screenshot of Ro’s COVID-19 test kit page shows the On / Go kits are currently in stock.

Ro


Ro co-founder and CEO Zachariah Reitano said the On / Go test kit was among the company’s top three most requested products and services over the holiday season. Unlike other healthcare companies, including pharmacies, it is confident in its ability to keep tests in stock and serve consumers during peak times.

“Our patients kept asking for tests and we partnered with the manufacturers of the On / Go test to provide them,” said Reitano. “They invested heavily in manufacturing capacity even as cases fluctuated in the potential case that there was a much more contagious variant that spread quickly.”

Growth of distribution centers

Ro ended the year with 10 distribution centers across the United States, down from just three earlier in the year, allowing for rapid delivery of urgent tests.

“We brought in pharmacists and pharmacy technicians over the holidays and worked 12 to 18 hours a day to make sure our patients get their COVID tests on time,” Reitano added. He also doesn’t expect to run out of test kits anytime soon.

While shipping individual test kits is expensive for Ro, who pays for expedited shipping and only benefits when it ships tests in bulk, Reitano said the cost was worth it “to make sure that people get it as soon as possible “.

In the meantime, the test kits have helped Ro acquire many new customers who Reitano hopes will look to the company to meet their health needs as well. Ro now offers a range of offerings that go beyond men’s sexual well-being to include fertility services, mental health care and home diagnostic tests for both men and women.

“We have started offering the tests to our members and other registrants,” said Reitano. “I hope that as we add new products and services, they will come to us and know that they are getting affordable prices and that we are not looking to take advantage of every moment.”

—Irina Ivanova contributed to this report.



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