The United States government wants citizens, especially seniors, to have the option of testing themselves at home for the flu.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it’s investing $24 million in two companies, Cue Health and Diassess, to help create the testing devices.
Here’s how the government envisions it panning out: if you think you have the flu, you’d take the test at home and the results would be sent to your doctor via an app. The doctor would then prescribe an anti-viral drug, if appropriate, which will be delivered to your home. The idea is if more patients stay home when they have the flu, it’ll cut down on germ-spreading and help contain the virus.
The devices will test for influenza A and B, and purchased over-the-counter. HHS says both companies are designing their tests to be inexpensive and simple to use, with quick results.
Currently, the CDC issues weekly reports during influenza season based on week-old data. HHS hopes the new technology will help deliver real-time estimates about outbreaks to local and government agencies.