Independent pharmacies to offer at-home COVID-19 tests

Times Record Staff
More than 1,200 independent pharmacies served by Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma can now offer their patients a saliva-based, at-home COVID-19 test.

More than 1,200 independent pharmacies served by Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma can now offer their patients a saliva-based, at-home COVID-19 test.

The testing kit will be distributed nationally by Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma (PPOk).

"This kit makes simple, reliable COVID-19 testing more accessible to people who don't live in a metro area or have easy access to a testing site," Dr. Jesse McCool, CEO of Wheeler Labs, said in a Business Wire news release. Wheeler Labs which provides the kit. "Providing access in the local pharmacies people know and trust makes critical health information more accessible, which will help slow the spread of this pandemic."

The test will retail for $130. All patients need to do is go to a local pharmacy and request one from the pharmacist, who will be able to answer any questions. People are then free to take the test home and collect a sample using clear, easy-to-follow instructions.

The sample is then placed in a pre-paid FedEx overnight package and sent to Wheeler Labs' CLIA-certified testing facility in Oklahoma City. Results are typically available within 24 to 48 hours of receipt at the lab.

Jeff Wallis, vice president of sales and marketing for PPOk, said the company hopes to make COVID testing available to people in smaller communities.

"No matter where people live, they deserve access to the latest medical technology," he said. "Making this test available allows independent pharmacies to compete with the big box stores and increases consumer access."

Wheeler Labs' COVID-19 test has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization. The testing kit pairs at-home saliva collection with PCR testing, the latest technology in coronavirus testing.

Wheeler Labs' COVID-19 test kits can also be ordered online at www.wheeler-labs.com and shipped directly to homes, businesses, pharmacies and clinics.

Wheeler Labs is a start-up clinical laboratory developing diagnostic testing services. Wheeler plans to expand its offerings with medical genetic testing for patients and physicians seeking to diagnose genetic disease. They are partnered with Phosphorus Diagnostics to more bring accurate and accessible testing services to Oklahomans. The company is located in Oklahoma City's Innovation District.