The Phosphorus COVID-19 RT-qPCR test is the second saliva-based test to receive Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorization — and it launched on June 8, 2020. It’s available online and in some brick-and-mortar pharmacies across the US, and the site accepts insurance.
How does the Phosphorus COVID-19 test work?
Phosphorus’ diagnostic test requires you to collect a saliva sample and send it back to their lab in Secaucus, New Jersey, for analysis. It detects whether you’re currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The kit includes a plastic tube. You’ll need to spit into it, then tightly seal the tube and mail it to Phosphorus’ lab that same day. The lab accepts samples from Sunday through Friday, so try to time your test accordingly.
What happens next?
Your sample is tested by Phosphorus’ scientists, and the results are sent to your healthcare provider within 72 hours. You can also request a copy of the results by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also schedule a telehealth consult with a doctor to discuss your results — whether they’re positive or negative. You’ll be able to access this option and book with a doctor in Phosphorus’ network.
Can I reuse the Phosphorus COVID-19 test kit?
No. The kit is single-use, and you only need to send one saliva sample to the lab.
Is the Phosphorus test FDA-approved?
No. Like all other at-home tests on the market, the FDA gave the Phosphorus COVID-19 PCR test an emergency use authorization (EUA). This allows the public to access it during the pandemic — and once the national health emergency is over, the test will go through the standard FDA approval process. It’s a rigorous one that can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.
The diagnostic test has a 97.1% accuracy rate for positive results and 98.2% for negative results, a media spokesperson confirmed with Finder. These statistics are based on clinical trials, which the company ran as part of the FDA’s EUA review process.
Am I eligible to get the Phosphorus COVID-19 test?
Yes. You don’t need to fill out an eligibility form — you can buy a test as soon as you feel you need one.
Phosphorus recommends self-testing if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been in contact with someone who has the virus.
How can I buy the Phosphorus COVID-19 test?
You can buy the test kit on Phosphorus’ site or through Albertsons in-store pharmacies across the US — the companies have a partnership. However, you’ll need to complete an online questionnaire and have it reviewed by an Albertsons pharmacist before proceeding to the checkout.
How much does the Phosphorus COVID-19 test cost?
The Phosphorus COVID-19 test costs $49 with insurance, or $119 if you’re paying out of pocket. This price includes a virtual consultation with a doctor once you receive your results.
When you check out, you can choose overnight shipping — which is an additional $30. Otherwise, two-day shipping is free.
Does health insurance cover the cost?
Yes. Phosphorus accepts all major health insurance plans, which reduces the cost to $49. The company is currently looking into the ability to accept Medicare and Medicaid, according to a spokesperson.
Phosphorus also accepts FSAs and HSAs. If you can’t cover the cost of the test, email email@example.com to learn about their financial aid program.
More about Phosphorus
Founded in 2016, Phosphorus is a genomics company that conducts genetic testing to help people detect and prevent disease. Its specialty areas include fertility, cardiology, oncology, neurology and pediatric disorders.
In 2020, the lab shifted its focus to COVID-19 and developed a diagnostic and antibody test for the novel virus.
Phosphorus’ COVID-19 test is straightforward to use and available to buy online as well as at brick-and-mortar Albertsons pharmacies. It has a 97.1% accuracy rate for positive results, and the company accepts health insurance up front — most competitors require you to submit a claim on your own.
Just keep in mind that you need to send the saliva sample back on the same day you collect it, and the lab doesn’t accept mail on Saturday. For more options, compare COVID-19 test kits.
Frequently asked questions about the Phosphorus COVID-19 test
Your best bet is to fill out the email form on the Contact Us page. Otherwise, you can call 855-746-7423 during business hours (ET).
Yes. Phosphorus has also developed a COVID-19 N-IgG Antibody Test — but it’s not available for at-home use.
The blood test can detect whether you’ve recently contracted COVID-19. The company says it’s best for people who have been exposed to the coronavirus, as well as those who have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the past — like a fever.
If you test negative, you probably haven’t been infected with COVID-19. But Phosphorus points out that antibodies typically show up one to three weeks after infection, so you may want to get retested again at a later date.
It’s worth reaching out to Phosphorus. The company partners with a network of board-certified doctors who can review your medical history and symptoms to determine which test is best for you. After the test, a doctor can walk you through the results and answer any questions you may have.
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
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