NIH to pilot program offering free COVID-19 testing, telehealth + treatment

The Biden administration has launched a telehealth pilot program that will test and treat patients for COVID-19 from their homes.

The initiative will start in January in Berks County, Pa., where up to 8,000 eligible residents are expected to participate.

"At-home testing for COVID-19 is now widely available in the United States, as are antiviral treatments, and this program combines easy home access to both," said Bruce Tromberg, PhD, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and leader of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Tech program, in a Jan. 5 NIH news release. "The Home Test to Treat program allows those who are sick an alternative to venturing out for testing or treatment, potentially reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community."

Participants will be eligible to receive at-home rapid tests, telehealth visits and antiviral treatments, all free of charge. The government will gather data from the trial to see how the model might be scaled across the country and expects to offer it to about 100,000 people in the U.S. this year.

NIH has contracted with telehealth provider eMed, STEM nonprofit VentureWell and Worcester, Mass.-based UMass Chen Medical School on the project.


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