NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the battle against COVID-19, some companies are getting closer to true at-home testing. It’s what experts say is a critical weapon against the pandemic.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has this update in his latest Max Minute report.

For any coronavirus testing to be useful, it must be widely available, affordable and fast. Results that take days or weeks to come back as has happened in the past, are virtually useless to help control the virus. Too much spread or new infection can happen in that time. That’s why numerous companies are focusing on rapid, at-home testing.

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The latest entry in the at-home testing sprint is a two company collaboration between Gauss and Cellex that looks for antigens on the virus surface. You would still need to swab your nose, although not as deeply as the unpleasant-but-very-accurate PCR test. Then the swab is placed into a provided solution and 15 minutes later dabbed onto a special detection stick. The key here is that the user then photographs the stick, which is sent via a company app to an artificial intelligence computer that returns a result in seconds with reportedly 90% accuracy.

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However, this test has not been given emergency use authorization by the FDA, so it is not yet available. Other at-home tests, like the saliva tests from Yale and Rutgers, require sending samples to a lab, delaying results for 24-48 hours. Other rapid home or point-of-care tests such as the Genviro test have been awaiting FDA authorization for some time.

The FDA sets a pretty high bar for home tests to account for what’s referred to as “operator error,” mistakes or carelessness by untrained users. The Gauss Cellex test goes to great lengths to account for that, but cost and distribution still await the FDA.

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