The company invested by DiCaprio: The coronavirus test for the elite that promises 100% accuracy with $ 250
The Coronavirus test is one of the most important weapons which we have as a means of preventing and ultimately dealing with the pandemic as early information on whether someone is sick can be extremely important in terms of no further spread of the virus. In any case, especially in the last few weeks and after the full prevalence of the Omicron mutation, the discussion about providing free molecular tests, which are the most reliable, has erupted in Greece.
In fact, the issue became the subject of political controversy at the level of political leaders with the leader of SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras asking for the free prescription of PCR tests for coronavirus and the Kyriakos Mitsotakis to answer that in no country are molecular tests prescribed.
Greece, of course, does not have the lead in such debates and debates if we consider that the pandemic is a global problem and the issues of inequalities in the field of virus prevention and treatment in case of disease concern the majority of the planet.
The self test for the elite and Google Google
In the aftermath of the Omicron mutation and when many Americans waited in long lines and searched pharmacies for test covid-19, some Google employees daily tested the comfort of their home. The device they use, a $ 249 machine that produces molecular test results in 20 minutes, comes from a San Diego-based company called Cue Health.
The company has been accused by many of providing Covid-19 tests for the elite, but Clint Sever, one of the company’s co-founders and product manager, says the test was designed with accessibility in mind. Now of course how affordable a $ 250 product can be is being considered.
“We have a subscription model similar to the cost of a gym membership,” says Sever.
The company that DiCaprio invested and the success rates 100%
The Food and Drug Administration granted Cue Health, established in 2010 and released last year, an emergency license for the NAAT bench (molecular nucleic acid amplification test) in March 2021.
The company even noted that the test was able to identify 97.8% of positive samples from people with symptoms and 100% of positive samples from people without symptoms, which puts it close to the level of accuracy of a PCR test. The company’s top investors include actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, and political analyst Jim Messina.
The Cue kit consists of two parts: A test tablet and a reader. Test cartridges cost 75 each and 249 readers. For most of last year, Cue Health sold its test exclusively to employers, most notably Google. Just two months ago, in November, the company introduced a product aimed directly at consumers.
Citizens can now purchase the test and reader à la carte or as a package through membership. The lowest level is $ 50 a month and gives Cue members 24/7 access to online doctors, 10 test cartridges and a discount to the sample reader ($ 149). Members can purchase additional tests at a discount of $ 60 per test. There is also a $ 90 per month subscription that includes tests that meet both US and international travel standards.
A test for the few and the tall
Cue Health tests may seem extremely expensive, but pricing for PCR tests for COVID-19 remains a murky affair in America, with health systems charging insurance companies $ 150 to $ 395 per test.
Insurance currently covers most PCR examinations performed in clinics, but Cue Health kits and membership are far beyond what most Americans can afford. The company says that while insurers are not currently reimbursing money for its product, Americans can use flexible health savings accounts to pay for the package.
At present, the Cue test kit remains a tool for employees in well-funded institutions such as the NBA, Searchlight Pictures, Netflix, ConocoPhillips and Goldman Sachs, which send tests to employees at will.
Healthcare companies such as Henry Schein, Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Hermann, and even the government Authority for Advanced Biomedical Research and Development also provide their employees with access to Cue Health’s in-house rapid testing platform. The Mayo Clinic, which tested the Cue, uses the system for healthcare workers.
Sever concludes: “People should not risk their health by choosing a fast, cheap but potentially inaccurate test over a slower, more costly but extremely expensive one.”
The debate, however, remains open as social inequalities become even more apparent during the pandemic and government policies that do not help ensure that everyone has access to basic public health and prevention goods.