Cue Health Cue Reader Review: Accurate and Expensive Covid-19 Test Kit

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I’ve tried a dozen at-home Covid checks over the previous yr. If it’s on the shelf at a drugstore, pharmacy, or grocery retailer, I’ve in all probability used it a number of instances. But every time I open a take a look at like BinaxNow or QuickVue, I nonetheless attain for the instruction guide, largely out of worry that I’ll mess up an important step. It’s been a continuing reminder of why I favor utilizing Cue Health’s Cue Reader diagnostic instrument over another at-home take a look at. It’s freed from tubes, options, cassettes, and take a look at strips.

I wasn’t all the time a fan of this Covid-19 take a look at package. Last yr, I initially handed on recommending it as a result of its mind-boggling $444 beginning value, which has since dropped to $394 (and continues to be costly). It simply felt mistaken throughout a pandemic when thousands and thousands of folks had been shedding jobs and reducing bills as a result of unpredictable instances. It was a lot wiser to simply spend roughly $25 on an at-home take a look at (half of which was coated by insurance coverage) and obtain eight free checks per 30 days. Plus, there was all the time the choice to take a free Covid take a look at at an area testing website.

However, the Biden administration has suspended its free at-home Covid take a look at program as a result of a lack of funding from Congress. The federal funding without cost Covid testing places and partial insurance coverage protection for at-home checks (along with free vaccines and medicine) are additionally operating out. This may imply that restocking your at-home stash could turn out to be dearer these subsequent few months. Suddenly, investing in a Cue Reader doesn’t really feel so outlandish.

A Compact and Speedy Machine

Photograph: Cue Health

Cue Health’s at-home take a look at facilities round a small central hub known as the Cue Reader, which may detect a virus’ genetic materials. Known as a molecular take a look at, it’s usually extra correct than an antigen (also called a fast take a look at) and corresponding to a polymerase chain response (PCR) take a look at, with the power to determine small traces of SARS-CoV-2 earlier—probably even a day or two earlier than you begin feeling any signs. That will be vital when making an attempt to stop the unfold of the virus. Cue says its take a look at has an accuracy price of 97.8 % (simply behind the single-use Lucira at-home molecular take a look at, which the corporate claims is 98 % correct). According to this unbiased examine, Cue’s at-home molecular take a look at additionally demonstrated 99.4% accuracy in comparison with lab-based PCR checks.

The Cue Reader is compact and doesn’t look ugly. I hold it on my desk, however I may see it resting on an entryway desk or kitchen counter. It’s straightforward to journey with too. I threw it in my baggage once I went to California this previous summer time, however I additionally stash it in my duffle once I go residence to go to my dad and mom. It’s rechargeable, so that you don’t have to fret about changing batteries (I simply hold it plugged in at my desk). 

What I like most about this technique is definitely taking the take a look at—one thing I by no means thought I’d say. Yes, you continue to must swab your nostrils, however the remainder is simply so darn straightforward and doesn’t really feel like a science experiment. There are not any tubes of answer. Instead, the Cue Reader handles every part. It works by way of Bluetooth, so that you’ll want a smartphone to make use of the Reader, but it surely’s easy to arrange. Download the app, make an account, and pair the Cue Reader to your telephone. When you’re able to take a take a look at, open the app for a walkthrough of every step. There are so few steps that it’s straightforward to memorize—no instruction guide wanted. 

The Reader comes with a number of cartridges, and similar to the way you’d push Super Mario World into the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, you first must push one among these cartridges into the reader and anticipate it to heat up. Once the app says the cartridge is prepared, swab your nostril with the included wand and insert it into the cartridge. That’s it! After 20 minutes, you may verify your outcomes in your telephone and, if wanted, ship the outcomes as a PDF by means of e-mail or textual content. Cleanup can also be a breeze, although maybe simply as wasteful as different at-home kits—take away the cartridge from the reader and throw it out. 

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