Kroger Health, the health care arm of The Kroger Company, announced it would soon offer the iPhone-assisted Gauss COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Home Test as soon as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves its emergency use authorization. Gauss, a technology company based in Silicon Valley, developed the new iPhone-assisted at-home testing kit.

The home test kit offers affordable access to state-of-the-art testing technology with the help of a lateral flow assay and an iPhone. Lateral flow test kits are devices that spot the presence of target material in a liquid sample without the use of specialized and costly medical equipment. While waiting for the EUA approval from the FDA, Kroger laid bare its supply and distribution plans for the test kit.

In a report published by Apple Insider, an online news outfit, Kroger said it plans to make the test kits available in all its 220 clinics and 2,200 pharmacies across the US. The retail healthcare group also plans to offer it online for buyers who prefer to stay at home. According to PR Newswire, Gauss manufactured 1.5 million test kits last month, which the company said would be available for distribution as soon as it receives the EUA from the FDA. Gauss also revealed it is capable of producing a maximum of 30 million test kits each month.

The at-home test gear consists of a swabbing kit and an iOS app, providing systematic guidelines on how to properly gather a nasal swab sample and then process it. Users then place the swab sample into a test cassette and after several minutes, the app then informs the user to scan the markers on the cassette using an iPhone camera. The app will provide the user with the result of the test in a clear and detailed manner. Gauss revealed that it is also possible to use the app when sharing the test results with public health agencies, following compliance rules set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Siddarth Satish, the founder and CEO of Gauss, said there is a growing clamor on the need to have reliable at-home COVID-19 test kits. "Public health leaders agree that people need access to on-demand, reliable, rapid testing in their own homes, and that's exactly what our test delivers," Satish said. In a clinical trial provided by Gauss to the FDA, it showed that their at-home test kit has a 93% positive agreement and 99% negative agreement as compared to other emergency-use-authorized PCR tests that are currently used.

iPhone-assisted rapid COVID-19 rapid test kits. Photo: JESHOOTS-com/

On the part of Kroger Health, its president, Colleen Lindholz, stated that they are proud to go into partnership with Gauss with the impending launch of an affordable COVID-19 at-home test solution. "Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger Heath has remained committed to helping people live healthier lives by offering a variety of COVID-19 testing solutions supported by our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained, and experienced health care providers," Lindholz said.