Does Costco's home COVID-19 test work? Dr. Patel says, yes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Costco has started selling COVID-19 saliva test kits, but don't go running to your nearest store to pick one up.

They are only available online.

It is a PCR test, and the results are supposed to be available within 24 to 72 hours once the lab receives it. The results are provided online through an app made by the company AZOVA that is billed as being HIPAA-secure.

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Each kit costs about $130.

So, the big question is, do they actually work? Can you trust it?

We spoke to ABC7 News Special Correspondent Dr. Alok Patel for answers.

For starters, he says it's a "step in the right direction," much easier than having a swab put up your nose, and the results come in faster than many traditional testing methods we've seen so far during the pandemic.

As far as accuracy, he says, "these tests have actually come out to show some great results."

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Dr. Patel says when tested head-to-head, this saliva testing kit detected just as many, if not more COVID-19 cases than a different, traditional, PCR nasal swab test that has already been in practice.

The Coscto tests are "about 99 percent sensitive, 98 percent specific. In other words, you can say the positive tests are positive, and the negative tests are truly negative," Dr. Patel said.

"This is an accurate test."

When it comes to the high price of $130, Dr. Patel believes the Costco test will drive competition, eventually bringing down the price of home testing kits.

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