MENLO PARK, Calif. -- It's the cheapest, fastest COVID-19 test on the market, and it's based in California.
A quarter of all California's COVID-19 tests are processed out of one small Bay Area-based lab -- that's more than any other company across the state.
Summer Bio launched during the pandemic to make testing more accessible in schools and has since grown into the largest volume testing site in California. The company's mission is to drive down the cost of COVID-19 testing.
"We wanted to build a testing structure that would allow everyone to get back to their normal lives," said the company's co-founder, Dave Scheinman.
"We needed high quality, low cost testing with a fast turnaround time," Scheinman said.
When the pandemic hit, diagnostic testing for COVID-19 was limited, expensive, and plagued with slow turnaround times. Scheinman and his partner, Sasha Seletsky, made it their mission to change that. The duo quit their jobs and launched SummerBio in May of 2020.
"We wanted to focus on schools, because we believed that bringing kids back safely was the foundation to helping communities get back to normal," Seletsky said.
In August, SummerBio expanded its testing volume from 10,000 tests per day to 100,000 tests per day. The company currently has contracts with the San Jose Unified School District and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The steps to complete the tests are simple. After registering online, the kit includes a swab to insert inside each nostril (in a circular motion) for 30 seconds before being placed in a vial and scanned for processing.
State records from early October show 96% of the company's lab results were posted within one day. Health System Tracker reports Medicare reimburses providers anywhere between $36 to $143 per diagnostic test.
SummerBio charges $10 per test - which is the cheapest on the market.
"Our goal is to drive down the cost of COVID testing on the market," Scheinman. "We know it's possible."
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