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Covid-19 home tests are cheap and deliver fast results, Arkansans going crazy after them as local pharmacies run out of stock



Arkansas – Home Covid-19 tests are becoming extremely popular among Arkansas since they are cheap, easily available and deliver fast results.

But the high demand leaves the local pharmacies out of stock making them difficult to find recently.

Anne Pace, PharmD and co-owner of Kavanaugh Pharmacy in Little Rock, said they’ve been able to order them for larger groups, but had limits on those and now they’re unavailable.

“We’ve seen a lot of people, increase in people asking for them, asking how good they are, if they’re good for people to take on trips with them,” Pace said. “There’s an increased demand for them as more and more places are requiring, either some sort of test before going somewhere, or vaccinations so people that don’t want to get vaccinated.”

As of now, only three major companies are allowed to sell this kind of tests under the Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA: Abbott BinaxNow, Ellume and Quidel. Pace said more research still needs to be done.

“Those sample sizes are pretty small at this point,” she said. “The Abbott test has been the most studied and we have the most data on that one from our information, from looking it’s still a small sample size in what they’ve submitted to get that EUA.”

What makes these kits popular are their price and fast results, delivered in 15 minutes. According to Pace, all three tests are antigen tests.

“Most of them have about a 15 percent chance of a false negative in patients that are symptomatic, and the symptoms started within seven days of when they’re testing,” Pace said.

The chances of false positive result are very low, Pace said. Combined with the fast results, cheap price and availability to everyone, the kits are great alternative to PCR tests.

“It’s also very important to make sure that people get a good swab, and they don’t use you know just very lightly touching the nostril, they really have to get a good nasal swab in order to get an accurate sample,” Pace said. “I’ve given myself a couple of swabs and I know it’s very easy to not want to go very far in your nostril to do it.”

However, health experts claim that as of now, the best option for the most accurate results remains the PCR test. People who get positive results with these tests, are asked to double check their condition with making PCR tests since it tests for actual DNA material of the virus.

“The one that we do in the pharmacy for patients has a less than 4% chance of false negatives when the test is done,” she said.

Pace also added that people who experience Covid-19 symptoms and get a negative test should also undergo PCR testing especially if they have been in contact who is already infected.

“If you have an outstanding test it is the best idea for you to quarantine or at least stay away from high risk individuals if you are vaccinated,” Pace said.

“Using an at-home test is a convenient way for people who have symptoms that could be COVID-19 to get tested without having to go anywhere. If the result is positive for COVID-19 then the patient will be able to quickly isolate themselves and avoid spreading the virus to others,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health in a statement in regards to the home Covid-19 kits.

She also added that people are kindly asked to report their positive test in the ADH since the numbers are important for them.

With the rising popularity of these tests, officials are worried about the accuracy of the official number they get. Knowing this, Gov. Hutchinson said that the best way to track the current Covid-19 situation in Arkansas is keeping a close eye on the number of hospitalizations.

“That’s something that measures everyone’s positivity, and we still see the hospitalizations going down,” Hutchinson said in a press conference Tuesday.

Currently, majority of pharmacies across Arkansas are out of stock, but expect new supplies during the next week.