PANDEMIC REPORT: At-home testing | COVID & marijuana users | Antibody therapy

At-home COVID test gets emergency use authorization

BURLINGTON, NC—The FDA granted an emergency use authorization for an at-home COVID-19 and flu test kit by Labcorp. Users swab their nose and mail in a sample, getting results back roughly one to two days after the test kit is received.

Novir wins innovation award

MILWAUKEE, WI—COVID-19 test maker Novir was among the winners of the 2021 Wisconsin Innovation Awards. Novir won in the biotechnology category for its COVID testing and vaccinations. Its TRACK software enables electronic test results and generates “proof of test” receipts to be used for insurance purposes, event admission or travel.

Monoclonal antibody therapy

LAWRENCE, KS—Health experts from the University of Kansas are enthusiastic about a monoclonal antibody therapy that may help prevent hospitalizations, reduce viral loads and lessen symptom severity. The therapy is an infusion of mass-produced antibodies.

Faster, simpler test results

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, IL—University of Illinois researchers partnered in an international study that has developed a highly sensitive nanopore sensor that specifically detects SARS-CoV-2 viruses and human adenoviruses in a variety of specimen, including saliva, serum or environmental samples such as wastewater. According to the research groups, the method is as precise as PCR tests, yet simpler and faster — providing results in less than two hours.

COVID and marijuana users

CLEVELAND—Heavy marijuana users who are also vaccinated may be more susceptible to breakthrough cases of COVID-19, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University. The study also shows that co-occurring health conditions and adverse socioeconomic health factors are largely responsible for the greater risk.