College student health-insurer Wellfleet and binx health, an in-home infectious disease test-kit service, have teamed up to offer COVID-19 testing for college students.
Using binx’s testing platform, which was originally created for discrete at-home sexually transmitted infections testing, and by working with Wellfleet’s client campuses, the two companies are giving universities a streamlined method for population testing.
The partnership allows universities to bulk-order tens of thousands of tests from binx to be delivered weekly to an on-campus site for students to be tested. The boxes can, however, be sent to student and faculty homes or dorms for in-home testing.
Binx can also conduct back-to-school testing for students before they return to campus from the holidays by sending the boxes to students’ family homes.
Once the boxes are received, students and staff complete the test and place it at an on-campus drop-off location for lab testing. Results can be delivered as quickly as 24 hours after the sample is received by the lab.
Additionally, binx’s testing platform offers university administration insights into campus trends, contact tracing and live customer-support services.
In most cases, the university pays for the boxes based on a per-test fee that includes the additional features of binx’s platform, according to Jeff Luber, the president and CEO of binx.
WHY THIS MATTERS
College campuses have proven to be hotbeds for infection of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Across the country, there have been more than 214,000 cases in at least 1,600 campuses, according to the New York Times.
The Times has reported most of the COVID-19 cases have occurred since students went back to school this fall, increasing from about 26,000 at more than 750 colleges across the nation in late August.
Most of reported deaths were among university employees. However, at least three students have passed away this fall due to COVID-19-related complications, according to Inside Higher Ed’s live coronavirus news tracker.
Even with the risk of severe illness being relatively low in young adults, university faculty, staff and those in the community could be at a higher risk if infected, according to JAMA.
Because of that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses. While testing can slow and even stop the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends that it be used alongside promoting behaviors that reduce spread, maintaining safe environments, keeping up healthy operations and preparing for people to get sick.
THE LARGER TREND
Ever since Labcorp’s COVID-19 test got the first emergency use authorization for an at-home sample collection from the Food and Drug Administration, companies have rushed in getting their own version out.
BioQ released its own version that tests for COVID-19, along with the flu and other respiratory infections. Everlywell has a test of its own where patients can see their results on its digital platform within 48 hours of lab receipt. If they are positive, the package includes a telehealth consult and appropriate case reporting.
Recently COVID-19 cases have begun to rise in the United States. Without a vaccine on the market, many fear for what the winter will hold with both the pandemic and flu season raging at the same time.
ON THE RECORD
“The best healthcare solutions are convenient, motivate patients to act, and provide valuable insights to those on the front lines of care,” said Jeff Luber, the binx president and CEO, in a statement. “To achieve those objectives, schools need tailored, technology-driven testing solutions that reach students and faculty where they live and work to keep in-person learning a reality.”
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