A look at new at-home COVID-19 tests

ABC News consumer correspondent Becky Worley takes a look at the options showing up on shelves that you can get without a prescription and determines which ones could be best for you and your family.
2:58 | 04/20/21

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Transcript for A look at new at-home COVID-19 tests
Now to the at home covid test that gives results in 15 minutes. How effective are they and what you need to know about them. Consumer correspondent Becky Worley joins us from San Francisco with that. Good morning, Becky. Reporter: Good morning, Michael. What if getting a covid test was easy as taking an at home pregnancy test? One company says starting this week it will be. This morning, news of the first rapid at home covid test that gives results in 15 minutes that will be available nationwide at pharmacies. Abbott announcing they're shipping tests to CVS, Walgreens and Walmart to be available later this week without a prescription. The binax now test which like many other covid tests have received the fda emergency use authorization will be sold in a two-pack costing $23.99 hailed as a breakthrough in availability, speed and cost of testing. While we might think this might be late for them to become available we have significant transmission occurring in the community and so with even vaccine rolling out getting access to these tests is super critical. The quick results from these rapid tests can help people decide immediately about what to do and whether they should isolate. Reporter: Why is this a big deal? Previously most at home tests had to be mailed to a lab and results could take up to 72 hours. But these new at home tests give you results in just 15 minutes and you can use them for anyone in the household from 2 years old and up. Patients perform a nasal swab then use treated paper and reagent solution which is included in the test kits. But these are antigen tests whose accuracy is estimated to be 15% lower than the gold standard, pcr tests. There's no prescription needed. They're over the counter. No health care provider or lab is needed. And so with these tests, we hope that they can be sort of an important weapon in finally getting to the end of this pandemic. Reporter: In addition to the widespread over the counter availability of the tests a huge issue is price. At home pcr tests have cost upwards of $100 so with this two-pack pricing out at $12 a test, this may be the widespread testing breakthrough public health officials have hoped for. Now, if you're interested in one of these tests you want to call your pharmacy chain to find out about availability. They are shipping this week but when they actually hit the shelves will vary by location, Becky, how do these at home tests affect contact tracing? Great question because you have to connect to the internet to use the test kit. Results are reported back to public health departments and these reports inform infection rate reporting and when possible they can help with contact tracing which is how we're going to stop this thing, so fingers crossed. Fingers crossed big time. Thank you, Becky Worley, as always. Appreciate you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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