At-home
testing for COVID-19 antibodies

Vessel has developed an app-based solution for at-home COVID-19 antibody testing, with results available in just 15 minutes. The app is designed to be used with any regulatory-approved serology test card, including test cards available for purchase on our site (coming soon). In the fight against the novel coronavirus, enabling safe and accurate at-home testing is critical to understanding who may be immune and able to return to work. A thorough review by the proper regulatory agencies is currently underway.

Join the waitlist

Scalable

Vessel’s mobile app will be free to download and compatible with any regulatory-approved serology test card. In addition, we have partnered with multiple approved test card manufacturers to secure hundreds of thousands of test kits per day that will be available for purchase at cost on our site (coming soon).

Accurate

We are working with Doc.ai on clinical trials to verify the accuracy of at-home serology testing using Vessel’s app-based solution. Clinical trials are scheduled to be completed by May 2020. Furthermore, we are evaluating several serology test kit manufacturers with the help of the medical team at University of California San Francisco. We are also a member of the XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance, being led by Anthem.

Affordable

Our complete solution will be provided at cost, and may be covered by insurance, although no insurance is required. A breakdown of pricing is below:

In the fight against COVID-19, Vessel's approach to at-home antibody testing is a promising new tool to help us understand who is likely immune and can return back to work.

Dr. John Brownstein

Epidemiologist and Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School

Cost without insurance

$
35
+ shipping
Vessel App Download
Test Kit & Instructions
Doctor Consultation
$0
$10
$25
Out of Pocket Cost
Insurance
$35 + shipping
($35)

Cost with insurance

$
0
_
Vessel App Download
Test Kit & Instructions
Doctor Consultation
$0
Likely covered
Likely covered
Out of Pocket Cost
Insurance
Likely covered
($35)

How Vessel works

Step 1

Download the free Vessel app once it has been approved for use in your country. Join the waitlist to be notified.

Step 3

Select the test card that you have. Our technology is compatible with test cards purchased directly from Vessel, as well as those obtained from other regulatory-approved sources.

Step 4

Watch the instructional video and apply one (1) drop of blood to the test card. An alcohol swab, lancet and pipette is provided in the test kit.

Step 5

Watch the video instructions and apply two (2) drops of buffer solution, which is provided in the test kit.

Step 7

Scan the test card in the app. Vessel’s image capture feature will help you to align the image without glare or shadows and with proper lighting. Next, Vessel’s proprietary image analysis algorithm will analyze the test card and determine the likely diagnosis.

Step 8

The image and diagnosis are then shared with a medical professional, who will confirm the final diagnosis and review the results with you via Vessel's telehealth platform.

At-home Antibody testing benefits

01

Reduce the burden on our healthcare system

Vessel could help lighten the load on the healthcare system by testing people at home who have mild symptoms or believe they have been exposed. For people with severe symptoms, contacting your doctor and getting lab-based PCR (polymerise chain reaction) testing is still recommended. Antibody (serology) tests are being used around the world to help in the fight against COVID-19. Public Health England (PHE) just purchased 3.5M antibody test cards and other countries are quickly following suit. They are even being used  in Telluride, Colorado.

02

Protect essential workers and get people back to work

While we still need more data on how long infected individuals are infectious, we know that for similar coronaviruses such as SARS, people are presumed to be infectious for approximately 10 days after fever and respiratory symptoms have started to improve.[1] The Vessel app enables medical professionals to remotely diagnose who is IgG positive and IgG positive and IgM negative, and whether they are likely no longer infectious, possibly immune, and could return to work with certain precautions. Read the FDA’s view on serology testing here.[2] For information on antibody testing limitations read here.

03

Data gives us a better understanding of COVID-19 epidemiology

Enabling at-home testing will get more people tested faster. Many people have been asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms and are therefore not being tested. This additional data can provide insights to help slow the spread and better understand the virus.[1] We adhere to an open standard to CDC/PHE/WHO in a universal effort to understand the sero-epidemiology of COVID-19. See our Data Policy.

App
Accessibility

The Vessel app will be offered for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store where we get government regulatory agency approval. We are working closely with regulatory agencies around the world to get approval as quickly as possible. We have started a clinical trial in partnership with Anthem and Doc.ai in an effort to validate that at-home COVID-19 antibody testing produces consistent results as accurate as in-clinic testing. The clinical trial will be complete before the end of April. Not all regulatory bodies require the clinical trial to be completed for approval, so we may have some approvals shortly.  If you work for a regulatory agency and would like to review Vessel for at-home antibody testing in your country please contact us here.

Test Kit
Accessibility

In order to help get test kits out to as many people as possible we will offer test cards for purchase, at cost, directly from our website vesselhealth.com. All test cards are CFDA and CE approval and have a sensitivity of 91.5% or better, see accuracy studies. These test cards will be made available as so as we get regulatory approval. Join our Waitlist to be notified as soon as they become available. Furthermore, we have created a “buy one, give one” program whereby we donate one test card to a person in need for each test card sold. You should receive your test within 1-5 business days, depending on the shipping option you select. Each package comes with a test card and all the materials you need to complete the tests, such as a lancet, alcohol swabs, buffer solution, and pipette.

Antibody testing

Above is a plot showing a typical immune response to an infection. The Vessel app works by reading immunoassay test cards. These tests typically measure two different types of antibodies (IgM and IgG), which are immunoglobulins that your immune system generates in response to an infection. Antibodies are unique and specific to each pathogen, enabling us to specifically detect COVID-19 antibodies rather than antibodies against the flu virus or a common cold virus.[1]

01

Antybodies

Our adaptive immune system makes several different classes of antibodies which differ in their function as well as the timing of when they are produced. The tests we are working with now measure both IgM and IgG isotypes. At present, there is not enough research to know the exact details of COVID-19 antibody production, so we are extrapolating from what we already know about how our immune system responds to similar viruses.

01

IgM Antibodies

IgM antibodies are created first and typically take a week after infection to reach detectable levels in your bloodstream; they typically disappear two weeks after the infection resolves. Because of this timing, they usually signify an acute (recent) infection.[1,2,3,4]

02

IgG Antibodies

IgG antibodies are created later and generally don't reach detectable levels until 3-6 weeks after initial infection. IgG antibodies typically remain at detectable levels in your blood for months or even years. IgG is usually the antibody signaling immunity from the associated pathogen.[1] For example, after getting a series of vaccinations against the Hepatitis B virus [2], the body continues to make IgG antibodies for years to continue to protect us against infection. The same type of immunity can often be acquired through an actual infection. For example, after getting chickenpox (varicella), the body creates long-term IgG antibodies to protect us against the varicella virus. For those who never had chickenpox, there are varicella vaccines that can also lead to immunity through triggering the production of IgG antibodies.[3]

Possible results

Here’s an example of different possible results and what they likely mean. We know this can be a little confusing, which is why a medical professional will be available in real-time to answer any questions you might have, all from within the Vessel app.

Only IgM antibodies are detected

If only IgM antibodies are detected, this suggests a new infection from the virus in the past few weeks.

IgM and IgG antibodies are detected

If IgM and IgG antibodies are detected, this signifies both an acute infection from the virus in the past 3-6 weeks, and the development of IgG antibodies, the body’s form of long-term protection.

Only IgG antibodies are detected

If IgM antibodies are not detected and only IgG antibodies are detected, this signifies a previous infection more than four weeks ago and possible long-term immunity.

No antibodies are detected

If no antibodies are detected, this signifies that you probably have not had an infection with the virus, or that you were exposed recently and are in the incubation period of 1-2 weeks when you have the virus but have not yet produced antibodies, or that your immune system might be unable to produce antibodies.

Invalid test

Invalid test.
Regulatory-approved test cards, when used properly and in conjunction with Vessel’s app, are able to determine if the blood sample was enough to make a valid test. If not, it will produce an invalid result.

Only IgM antibodies are detected

If only IgM antibodies are detected, this suggests a new infection from the virus in the past few weeks.

IgM and IgG antibodies are detected

If IgM and IgG antibodies are detected, this signifies both an acute infection from the virus in the past 3-6 weeks, and the development of IgG antibodies, the body’s form of long-term protection.

Only IgG antibodies are detected

If IgM antibodies are not detected and only IgG antibodies are detected, this signifies a previous infection more than four weeks ago and possible long-term immunity.

No antibodies are detected

If no antibodies are detected, this signifies that you probably have not had an infection with the virus, or that you were exposed recently and are in the incubation period of 1-2 weeks when you have the virus but have not yet produced antibodies, or that your immune system might be unable to produce antibodies.

Invalid test

Invalid test.
Regulatory-approved test cards, when used properly and in conjunction with Vessel’s app, are able to determine if the blood sample was enough to make a valid test. If not, it will produce an invalid result.

Comparing PCR Testing to Antibody Testing

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the antibody test card vs typical lab-based PCR testing. Both can play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. PCR is better at detecting the virus even in the incubation period.  Antibody testing can assess your immune response quickly and tell you if you've had an infection in the past that you've recovered from.

PCR Testing

PCR testing

VS.

Antibody
Testing

Cost

Hundreds

This varies but generally speaking medicare is about $50 for the test, $25 for the collection, fee for the office visit.

Cost

$ 50

Test kits and telehealth services provided by Vessel will be available at cost for $35 plus shipping per test and include Vessel’s app ($0), Test Kit & Instructions ($10), and Doctor Consultation ($25). Our solution is provided at cost with no markup, and may be eligible for insurance reimbursement.

Collection method

Uncomfortable nasal swab

collected by a medical professional

Collection method

One drop of blood

collected at home

Time for results

3-5 business days

Time for results

15 minutes

Accuracy

The current gold standard, accuracy depends on the quality of specimen obtained and manufacturer.

Accuracy

Varies with manufacturer. Current FDA approved Cellex test card shows that 93.8% of people who are PCR positive are also antibody positive, and 95.6% of people who are PCR negative will be antibody negative.

Interpreted by a medical professional

Yes, in-person

Interpreted by a medical professional

Yes, via telehealth

Easy to do without breaking quarantine

No

Easy to do without breaking quarantine

Yes, if done at home with a solution like Vessel's

Tests for

Virus particles (nucleic acid)

Tests for

Antibodies against the virus

Can detect infection during the
incubation period

Yes

Can detect infection during the
incubation period

Possible but unlikely

Can detect infection after the incubation period (when symptoms start)

Yes

Can detect infection after the incubation period (when symptoms start)

Yes

Can detect a past infection that you
have recovered from

No

Can detect a past infection that you
have recovered from

Yes

Source: CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel IFU
https://www.fda.gov/media/134922/download

Antibody testing limitations

Unfortunately, there is no test that is 100% accurate at telling you whether or not you are infected with COVID-19. Currently, RT-qPCR testing using a properly connected nasopharyngeal swab is the gold standard. However, the accuracy and predictive value of this type of testing has not been systematically evaluated, and results can vary. For example, different test companies can have different levels of accuracy, with accuracy varying based on the type of sample obtained.  For the highest accuracy, a nasopharyngeal swab is required, which can be rather difficult and painful to obtain.

Antibody tests using blood or serum also have limitations, such as the following:

01

Because these tests detect antibodies made in response to the virus, they often lag behind RT-qPCR tests which detect actual viral particles. Most people take around seven days after exposure before initial IgM antibodies are at detectable levels.

02

The accuracy with a finger-prick sample is lower than using serum or intravenous blood, but it is also less painful.

03

We don’t know enough yet to confirm that, when your body makes IgG antibodies, you are immune from future infection. Preliminary evidence suggests that these antibodies are protective, but this remains to be definitively established. Moreover, it is unknown whether all infected patients mount a protective immune response and how long any protective effect will last.

Research on protective immunity following COVID-19 is growing. For example, a case series showed that when IgG antibodies from the blood of patients who recovered from COVID-19 was transferred to other patients, it protected those patients from viral infection [1]. Another study showed that when antibody levels rose, these were correlated with neutralizing activity against the virus [2].

04

Furthermore, a recent study reported that rhesus macaques infected with COVID-19 did not develop reinfection after they recovered and were exposed again to COVID-19.[3]

05

Certain people have impaired immune systems from conditions such as inherited or acquired immunodeficiency syndromes, or surgical removal of their spleens (the spleen is the main site of IgM antibody production). Furthermore, many people are on immunosuppressive medications that can block or blunt a normal immune response to the COVID-19 virus. Such situations would make test results less reliable.

06

Certain people have impaired immune systems from conditions such as inherited or acquired immunodeficiency syndromes, or surgical removal of their spleen (the spleen is the main site of IgM antibody production).  Furthermore, many people are on immunosuppressive medications that can block or blunt a normal immune response to the COVID-19 virus. These situations would make test results less reliable.

Data and privacy

The Vessel COVID-19 app has been launched in an effort to help our world’s public health authorities, governments, and researchers fight the COVID-19 epidemic. Your personal, identifiable information will never be shared, sold, or passed onto anyone else without your explicit permission. 

All survey responses will be stripped of any personally identifiable information (specifically e-mails and full postcodes if submitted) and openly shared for research purposes to accelerate our collective understanding of COVID-19 and study immunity.

We adhere to an open standard to CDC/PHE/WHO in a universal effort to understand the sero-epidemiology of this disease. We align with the COV-CLEAR standards of data sharing. Read our full privacy policy.


Why Vessel?

The world has changed rapidly in the last few months, and like many others, we are compelled to step in and help. Fortunately, we’re in a unique position to adapt our product development to meaningfully contribute to this growing crisis. Over the past three years, we’ve been developing an app and image analysis algorithm that can read lateral flow tests - these lateral flow immunoassay tests are currently being used around the world to test for COVID-19 antibodies. With a few tweaks to our algorithm and app, we now have the capabilities to make it easy and accurate to test for COVID-19 at home and connect patients with medical practitioners via telehealth services.

Vessel's at-home wellness test card and COVID-19 antibody test cards both use lateral flow immunoassays.

Join the waitlist

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We’ll notify you as soon as Vessel’s app receives regulatory approval in your area.

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Questions

01

How do I take the test?

Simply follow these steps:
• Step 1 - Download the Vessel app.
• Step 2 - Complete the brief questionnaire. 
• Step 3 - Watch the one-minute video explaining how the test works.
• Step 4 - Apply one (1) drop of blood to the test card. A lancet is provided to prick your finger.
• Step 5 - Apply two (2) drops of buffer solution, which is provided in the test kit.
• Step 6 - Wait 10 minutes; a timer is provided in the Vessel app.
• Step 7 - Scan the test card with the Vessel app.
• Step 8 - Once you scan the test card, you will be connected with a medical professional who will review your results and provide you with next steps via Vessel’s telehealth platform.

02

How do the antibody (serology) tests work?

Antibody tests work by measuring two different types of antibodies (IgM and IgG), which are immunoglobulins (proteins) that your immune system creates in response to an infection. Antibodies are unique and specific to each pathogen, and they are able to bind to specific parts of the COVID-19 virus activating our immune system to neutralize and destroy the virus and infected cells.

IgM antibodies are created first. They take about 7 days after infection to show up at detectable levels in your bloodstream, and they become undetectable about 2 weeks after symptoms resolve.  Because of this timing, they signify an acute (recent) infection, and healthcare professionals often use blood IgM levels to detect an acute infection.

IgG antibodies are created later, with detectable levels about 3-6 weeks after infection,, and typically remain at detectable levels in your blood for years. IgG is typically the antibody signaling immunity from the associated pathogen. For example, after getting a vaccination, the body continues to make IgG antibodies for years to continue to protect us against that infectious disease. Furthermore, with repeat infections, IgG rather than IgM is the predominant antibody created by our immune system.

The same type of immunity can be acquired through an actual infection. For example, after getting chickenpox, the immune system creates IgM antibodies during the acute infection, and then long term IgG antibodies to protect us against the varicella virus in the future.  There are also varicella vaccines that can also lead to long-term immunity through triggering the production of IgG antibodies.
One way we measure immunity is by measuring blood titers of IgG antibody levels. However keep in mind that we don’t yet know for sure if IgG antibodies against COVID-19 signifies immunity. Initial research is promising, but more research is still needed to validate this assumption.

03

What are the different results I could get and what do they mean?

On your test, there are several types of results you can get:
• If only IgM antibodies are detected, this suggests a new infection from the virus in the past few weeks.
•  If IgM and IgG antibodies are detected, this signifies both an acute infection from the virus in the past 3-6 weeks, and the development of IgG antibodies, the body’s form of long-term protection.
• If IgM antibodies are not detected, and only IgG antibodies are detected, this signifies a previous infection more than four weeks ago and possible long-term immunity.
• If no antibodies are detected, this signifies that you do probably have not had an infection with the virus, or that you were exposed recently and are in the incubation period of 1-2 weeks when you have the virus but have not yet produced antibodies, or that you may have a problem with your immune system producing antibodies.

04

What supplies do I need to take this test?

Test kits from Vessel, as well as other regulatory-approved providers, include everything you need to test at home. You clean your finger with an alcohol swab, prick it with a sterile lancet (just like diabetics do), and collect 1 - 2 drops of blood with the plastic pipette. You then add one full drop of blood and two drops of buffer solution to the designated area of the test card, wait 10 minutes, scan the test card with the Vessel app, and get instant results and recommendations from one of our telehealth providers. The Vessel app has easy to follow step-by-step video and text instructions to help guide you through each step of the process.

05

How quickly will I get my results?

The test results will be ready in 10 minutes, however you may need to wait slightly longer before you are connected to one of our telehealth providers to go over your results.

06

Can this test tell me if I am immune to Coronavirus?

Likely. While this hasn’t been proven yet with COVID-19, the finding of detectable IgG antibodies and no detectable IgM antibodies is what clinicians use to detect immunity. For example, your doctor might check Hepatitis A IgG antibodies to confirm that you are immune to Hepatitis A from either a prior infection or prior vaccination. 

If you were to have a test result showing positive IgG antibodies and negative IgM antibodies, you are likely protected against re-infection. Again this has not yet been proven and more research is needed to fully answer this question.

It is also possible that in the future COVID-19 could mutate (slightly change its structure) in such a way that the IgG antibodies your body created initially no longer work.

07

If I test negative, can I go back to work?

If you test negative, it means that you probably have not yet been exposed to the virus, were infected in the past 7 days, or that there is a problem with your immune system from a pre-existing disease process or medication.  Therefore if you test negative, it’s best to assume you are still at risk and should continue social isolation to protect yourself and others.

If you test IgG positive, IgM negative you can likely ease up on social distancing and go back to work however we still need more research to confirm this (as explained above).  As always, follow the guidance of your healthcare professional who will stay up to date on CDC guidelines.

08

Is the test accurate compared to clinical lab testing?

The accuracy of tests is described through the terms sensitivity and specificity. 

Sensitivity measures the proportion of actual positives that are correctly identified as such by the test in question (e.g. the percentage of COVID-19 infected people who are currently testing positive).

Specificity measures the proportion of actual negatives that are correctly identified as such by the test in question (e.g., the percentage of healthy people who are correctly identified by the test result as not having COVID-19).

Currently, RT-qPCR testing using a properly connected nasopharyngeal swab[1] is the gold standard, however the accuracy and predictive value of this type of testing has not been systematically evaluated, and the sensitivity of testing likely depends on the precise test being used as well as the type and quality of specimen obtained.  However until we have a more accurate way of detecting true positives and true negatives, we will use RT-qPCR testing as the “gold standard” to which to compare other tests.

Now, onto the question of the accuracy of the newer serologic tests that can be read through the Vessel app.

While each test card is slightly different, the test card that we ship directly to our users had a sensitivity of 93.8% and specificity of 95.6%, when tested at 2 Chinese hospitals in a total of 128 COVID19 positive patients, and 250 COVID19 negative patients (as detected by RT-qPCR).

This means that 93.8% of the people who had a positive IgM antibody test result also had a positive RT-qPCR result), and that 95.6% of people who had a negative IgM antibody test also had a negative RT-qPCR test result.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVJNWefmHjE

09

How much does the app and antibody test cost?

The Vessel app is free. The test card will be sold at cost and most likely will be eligible for insurance reimbursement.  There is also a telemedicine service to review your results which is also most likely covered by your insurance.  When you create an account on our website or inside the app we will check that for you.  If your insurance does not cover it you will be billed directly from the telemedicine provider and shown the cash pay price upfront.

10

Who should take this test?

We recommend you take this test if you:
• Currently show any symptoms of COVID-19 such as a fever, cough, fatigue, muscle pains, or reduced appetite.
• Previously had symptoms and think you may have had an infection with COVID-19 in the past.
• Are curious to know if you're one of the people who had a prior infection but no symptoms.

Because there are so many potential benefits of testing, perhaps a better way to phrase this question is who shouldn't take this test.  If you’re experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or light-headedness, skip this test and seek medical attention right away to evaluate if you need hospitalization.

11

I was in contact with someone who is now showing symptoms. Should I take this test?

Yes, because the symptoms and severity of COVID-19 infection vary greatly ranging from no symptoms to severe symptoms, testing can help identify if you have been infected in the past.  Keep in mind that if your results are IgM and IgG negative, you may need to test again in 7-14 days as you may get a negative result if you are in the beginning of the incubation period (the period after infection but before you develop symptoms).

12

Who will have access to my test results?

We are required to report positive cases to local, state, and federal public health agencies. We will not report to your insurance company or healthcare provider, aside from the independent telehealth doctor that will review your results.

We adhere to an open standard to CDC/PHE/WHO in a universal effort to understand the sero-epidemiology of COVID-19. See our Data Policy here.

13

How many tests are going to be available?

This is a worldwide pandemic, which is why we’ve secured manufacturing for hundreds of thousands of test kits per day and are now seeking regulatory approval around the world. We have partnered with the xPrize Pandemic Alliance, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Doc.ai on clinical trials to verify that antibody tests can be safely and accurately administered at home. We’re also working with UCSF to validate the accuracy of various different test cards, which should be completed by the end of April 2020. Once approved we will be offering test cards for sale on VesselHealth.com. To be notified when Vessel is available in your country join our waitlist here.

14

Will this test be available in all 50 states?

Once we receive the appropriate regulatory approvals we will update this information.

15

Is the app available outside the US?

Once we receive the appropriate regulatory approvals, yes.

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