At a glance
- Advertises 96% accuracy
- Requires only one test
- App required for results
- Approved for international travel with AZOVA
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The Ellume at-home rapid COVID test was one of the first on the market, boasting a 98% accuracy rate that remains high among competitors. It pairs with an app that walks you through each step of the test supported by user-friendly videos. But its $39 price tag is higher than other options.
Ellume at-home rapid COVID tests may be in stock at some local retailers or pharmacies such as Walmart, CVS or Walgreens. Check with your local stores to see if Ellume is available near you.
Ellume’s at-home COVID test operates similarly to other at-home tests with one notable exception: You must download an app to complete your test and view your results. The app includes step-by-step instructions that include video.
The app displays your results as:
If you receive an inconclusive result, you need to buy another kit and test again. Ellume includes only one test per kit.
Failing to follow the instructions can result in false results, so carefully follow the app’s instructions as you move through the test.
The Ellume kit contains:
Two factors give Ellume an edge over its competitors:
The $39 price tag isn’t as wallet-friendly as other at-home kits — especially considering Ellume contains only a single test. For comparison, the FlowFlex single test at-home kit costs $10 at many retailers.
If you don’t have a smartphone, the required app use could pose a problem.
Like the majority of at-home rapid tests for COVID-19, Ellume is an antigen test, which looks for molecules found on the virus. A few at-home tests, like Cue, are molecular tests that experts say tend to be more accurate overall.
The US Food and Drug Administration authorized the Ellume COVID-19 Home Test for emergency use in December 2020. Emergency use allows companies to bring their products to market faster in unusual circumstances, such as during a pandemic.
The FDA has issued two recalls of the Ellume testing kits for having higher-than-acceptable false positive test results. These recalls affected certain lots of the testing kits that have since been pulled from retail shelves. (See Ellume’s site to check for recalls, if you’re not sure.)
The Ellume kit meets the CDC’s requirements for international travelers in combination with AZOVA video observation services. To qualify, you need to purchase the $20 service through Ellume’s site in addition to the cost of the test. A company rep will verify that you’ve performed the test correctly.
If you test positive using the at-home kit, follow the instructions provided. The company recommends contacting your healthcare provider as soon as possible. You can forward your test results to your healthcare provider from the app or your email.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on your test result along with your medical history and symptoms.
The company also recommends isolating to avoid spreading the virus. Consult the CDC’s guidelines on exposure and quarantine for guidance.
At-home rapid COVID tests — also called antigen tests — detect protein fragments specific to SAR-CoV-2. It’s a convenient way to test for COVID-19 without needing to leave your home or find a testing center. It reports results in as little as 15 minutes but isn’t as accurate as a PCR test.
Rapid tests are most accurate for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. While the false-positive rate is very low, the false negative rate is up to 50%.
Learn more about FDA-approved at-home COVID tests for emergency use by the public.
In December 2021, the White House announced a plan that includes nine actions to protect the health of Americans in the wake of spiking Delta and Omicron variants. Among them was expanding access to free at-home testing regardless of health insurance status.
Details aren’t yet in, but options are expected to include:
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