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Kroger plans rollout of iPhone-assisted COVID-19 rapid testing kits

An at-home COVID-19 test that uses the iPhone to check results will be available to buy from Kroger in the future, once the FDA approves the test for public sale.

The Gauss COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Home Test is currently awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization, allowing it to be distributed and supplied to the public. Awaiting that approval, Kroger Health has outlined its distribution plans for the test.

The retailer's health arm plans to make the test available to buy online, as well as its 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics across the United States. AppleInsider has asked for clarification, and for details of wider availability, if any is planned.

Gauss produced the first 1.5 million units of the test, which the retailer will immediately start distributing once the EUA has been granted. The producer claims to be able to make up to 30 million tests per month at full production capacity.

The test consists of a swabbing kit and an iPhone app, which provides step-by-step instructions to properly collect a nasal swab sample and to process it. Once placed into the test cassette and after a 15-minute wait, the app prompts the user to use the iPhone camera to scan the cassette's markers.

The app then provides the result of the test to the user as clearly as possible. The app is also able to share the result with public health agencies, following normal HIPAA compliance rules.

A clinical trial submitted to the FDA to support the application determined the test has a 93% positive agreement and 99% negative agreement compared to existing emergency-use-authorized PCR tests.

"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," said Gauss founder and CEO Siddarth Satish in a statement.

While a relatively simple use of the iPhone for guidance and reading a result, the test is another way that iPhones and apps are helping to combat the ongoing pandemic. The Apple-Google COVID-19 API and exposure notification system is employed by healthcare organizations around the world to assist with tracking the spread of the virus in large populations.

Apple has also recently started to manage the introduction of so-called "health pass" apps, digital credentials for accessing buildings or in-person services. On Wednesday, Apple said such apps must be created by a company with relations to public health authorities to be submitted for inclusion in the App Store.