Two Texas-based health technology companies have teamed up to roll out a coronavirus test, and they’re trying to get it in the hands of the general public and the military.
AnyPlace MD, a mobile health provider, and Reliant Immune Diagnostics, a telehealth developer, collaborated earlier this year to bring the telemedicine app MDBox and coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to the public. The efforts are called “Project RAPID” (Remote Assessment Platform for Infection Detection).
The test itself uses lateral flow technology, which has been used for medical testing for more than 40 years. The companies have adapted that technology for coronavirus, pairing it with the artificial intelligence technology embedded in the MDBox app to determine eligibility for the test, read the test, and match patients with medical providers — all remotely.
So far, the FDA has not yet approved the testing. To prove their technology, the companies hosted a drive-thru testing clinic in Austin, Texas on Saturday.
Using the MDBox app, patients with concerning symptoms took an online assessment to determine if they were eligible for the testing. If they were deemed eligible, they were directed to the drive-thru testing site. There, they paid $65.95 for the test and received a diagnosis in just 15 minutes.
The drive-thru event successfully tested 180 people who qualified for the test. The companies plan to hold another two large testing events if needed.
Once all necessary federal approvals are secured, the companies hope the tests can be quickly obtained through ordering online or picking one up from a retailer – and retail partners are already prepared to carry them.
An individual would take the test home, install a free mobile app on their smartphone that instructs them on taking the test. Upon taking the test in their home and waiting 15 minutes, the user would then scan the test with their smartphone to process the test results before becoming matched with a medical provider to validate their results.
“The need for a fast and effective in-home diagnostic solution is the only available means to keep infected or potentially infected patients at home and is the key to slowing and inevitably stopping the pandemic that our nation faces,” said AnyPlace MD CEO and founder Shane Stevens.
The companies have been working with numerous state agencies to secure emergency use authorization and help fast track the ability to roll out the test.
One of the companies’ major aims is to supply the tests to the National Guard.
Retired Brig. Gen. Sean Ryan, who serves as VP of AnyPlace MD’s Military Division, said, “National guard and citizen soldiers live in communities. For the most part, they have other jobs, live in communities, interact with local citizens … It only takes one to infect a squad; one to infect a platoon.”
“We need to make sure our national guard and citizen soldiers are tested,” he added.
Approximately 20,000 National Guard members are deployed nationwide in response to coronavirus. Their tasks range from setting up field hospitals to distributing food to the needy.
The companies have sourced FDA-approved manufacturers with the capacity to produce 6 million tests per day.
The MDBox app could be used to diagnosis other ailments, such as a urinary tract infection or strep throat. Those applications are currently under review by the FDA.
This article has been updated to correct details on the test’s FDA approval status.