Rothberg’s ground-breaking Detect COVID-19 test to go on sale in December

By Liese Klein

Nov 22, 2021

A new test for COVID-19 made by Guilford bioscience company Detect will come to market early in December, the company announced Friday.

The Detect test, an at-home kit that takes about 3 minutes to self-administer and gives results in about an hour, will be available at detect.com directly to the public without a prescription. A one-time test kit costs $49, plus $39 for a reusable “Detect hub” base unit.

Company officials also announced that Detect would make versions of its test customized for schools and businesses. The schools version would allow for confirmatory testing that would enable schools to avoid the need to quarantine students.

Company officials also announced that Detect would make versions of its test customized for schools and businesses. The schools version would allow for confirmatory testing that would allow schools to avoid the need to quarantine students.

Detect founder Jonathan Rothberg made the announcement at a news conference with Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, highlighting the importance of the new test option.

“The key about this test would be you see the virus before you can infect somebody that you love,” Rothberg said. “You detect it a few days before you transmit it.”

The Detect test has the accuracy of a laboratory PCR test and the ease of use of an antigen test at a relatively low cost. The test can also be scaled up easily to allow for millions of uses a month, he added.

Dozens of dignitaries and employees attended the in-person, live-streamed event at the Detect campus at 351 New Whitfield St. in Guilford. Images and videos featuring Rothberg’s other startups like Butterfly, Quantum-Si and Hyperfine were broadcast on large screens and before the livestream.

Rothberg and his team set out to create a rapid home test for COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, and their product won emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last month.

The company said at the time that Detect matched state-of-the-art PCR lab tests by 97.3% in clinical trials, making it more sensitive than more common antigen-based rapid tests. Detect shows results within an hour, according to the company.

In October, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Detect $8.1 million to scale up manufacturing of its COVID-19 test. Detect was the only company based outside of California awarded a grant for tests that focus on detection of viral RNA.

In addition to acknowledging his team on Friday, Rothberg thanked the town of Guilford, whose residents served as test subjects for Detect during its development.

“The people in Guilford allowed us to validate that test,” Rothberg said. “It was a win-win for everybody.”