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Vitagene COVID-19 test kit review

The first saliva test to hit the market has a 99% accuracy rate — and it’s one of the cheapest at-home kits.

The Vitagene COVID-19 test received Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorization on May 8, 2020 — and it was the first saliva-based test to do so. It’s available online to Americans who are experiencing mild symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus, and you can expect results within 72 hours.

How does the Vitagene COVID-19 test work?

Vitagene’s test requires you to collect a saliva sample, which is then sent to a partner lab for analysis — Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics.

The full instructions are included in the test kit, but basically, you’ll need to spit into the plastic vial provided and screw on the cap until a blue stabilizing solution is released. Then, you’ll be asked to shake the vial for five seconds and mail the package via express post. Return labels are included with the kit.

What happens next?

Once your sample reaches the lab, it is tested by board-certified physicians, and you’ll receive your results via a digital platform within 72 hours. Then you can schedule a telehealth consult with a doctor to discuss the results.

Can I reuse the Vitagene COVID-19 test kit?

No. The kit is single use, and you only need to send one saliva sample to the lab.

Is the Vitagene test FDA-approved?

No. Like the rest of the at-home tests on the market, the FDA gave the Vitagene COVID-19 Test an emergency use authorization (EUA), which means the public can access it during the pandemic. Once the national health emergency passes, the test goes through the standard FDA approval process, which can take anywhere from a few months to several years.

The Vitagene test is the first at-home saliva sample test to receive an EUA, and Phosphorus, Hims & Hers and a handful of other companies have released their own versions since.

Is the Vitagene COVID-19 test accurate?

The test has a 99% accuracy rate for positive results and 100% for negative results, a media spokesperson confirmed with Finder. The company says these figures are based on “available data” from clinical trials — and they make the Vitagene COVID-19 test among the most reliable on offer.

To get the most accurate results, Vitagene says to avoid eating or drinking 30 minutes before taking the test and to completely fill up the tube with saliva.

Am I eligible to get the Vitagene COVID-19 test?

Most likely. Before you can purchase the test, you’ll need to complete a COVID-19 symptom assessment that determines your risk level — and if you’re dealing with common symptoms like a fever or fatigue, you should be able to proceed to the checkout.

“As long as they’re not currently experiencing life-threatening symptoms, anyone can buy a kit,” a spokesperson told Finder.

How do I get the Vitagene COVID-19 test?

The test is available for order nationwide. You can purchase the test kit on Vitagene’s site and via GNC. You can expect to receive it within two to three business days, depending on the shipping method you choose. Healthcare providers, essential businesses and government agencies can buy kits in bulk through 1Health, Vitagene’s parent company.

Each test has a unique “kit ID.” For tracking purposes, you’ll be asked to register your test kit on 1Health’s site before collecting a sample.

How much does the Vitagene COVID-19 test cost?

The Vitagene COVID-19 test costs $117, which includes return shipping to the lab and a virtual consultation with a doctor once you receive your results.

It doesn’t include the cost of shipping the test to you. When you check out, you’ll need to select a shipping speed.

  • FedEx Standard Overnight: $25
  • FedEx 2-Day: $15
  • FedEx Ground (typically 1 to 5 business days): $12

Does health insurance cover the cost?

Under the CARES Act, all COVID-19 tests are covered by health insurance. Vitagene doesn’t process insurance claims, but you can submit a claim to your insurer for reimbursement.

As for payment methods, Vitagene accepts FSAs and HSAs, as well as all major credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay and Sezzle.

More about Vitagene

Vitagene was founded in 2014 as a DNA testing company. Along with giving consumers a way to trace their ancestry, it aims to help them to improve their health. It uses a person’s DNA to recommend lifestyle changes, suggest supplements and create personalized diets and exercise routines. The algorithm can also pinpoint genetic predispositions for skin conditions.

The company is headquartered in San Francisco and began developing the COVID-19 test in the spring of 2020.

Bottom line

Vitagene’s COVID-19 test is simple to administer and less invasive than a nasal swab. It has a 99% accuracy rate, and your results are sent to a secure online portal within 72 hours. You can order the kit online, though you’ll need to pay for it up front — and the advertised price doesn’t include shipping one way.

To learn about your options, compare COVID-19 test kits.

Frequently asked questions about the Vitagene COVID-19 test

When should I get tested for COVID-19?

Vitagene recommends self-testing if you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath. It also suggests a test if you don’t have symptoms but may have been exposed to the coronavirus through your home or work.

The company says to seek medical attention if you have severe symptoms that limit your everyday activities.

Can the Vitagene COVID-19 test check for antibodies?

No. As a diagnostic test, it can only detect if you have COVID-19 — not the antibodies against it.

How can I contact Vitagene?

If you have questions about the test, email on weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.

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