Cue Health Inc. is continuing to strengthen its testing and treatment solutions for COVID-19.
Today (Aug. 29) the company announced the nationwide launch of Cue Care, a same-day diagnostic-to-treatment program where patients in the U.S. who test positive using Cue’s COVID-19 tests can now use the Cue Health App to consult virtually and on-demand with a medical professional about their test result, obtain an e-prescription – if medically indicated – for a medication to treat the virus and get the medication delivered to their home within hours.
“Cue Care successfully closes the care loop as customers can conduct a diagnostic test, consult a medical professional and get the treatment they need delivered on the same day, all within the Cue Health platform,” said Cue Health CEO Ayub Khattak. “Cue Care is a win-win to all stakeholders because it delivers effective treatment to patients in a timely and convenient fashion.”
Cue Care costs $79 for Cue+ members and $99 for those who purchase a la carte. Within a few weeks, Cue Health anticipates expanding its new service to patients who test positive on any COVID-19 test.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, early treatment for patients infected with COVID-19 can improve patient outcomes, reduce hospitalization and save lives.
Board-certified clinicians who write e-prescriptions for these antivirals through the Cue Health App request fulfillment at over 20,000 pharmacy locations nationwide. Patients can then quickly begin treatment, usually within 24 hours of their telehealth visit, while reducing the risk of exposing people outside of their home to the infectious disease.
The Cue Care program comes on the heels of a recent study that confirmed the reliability and accuracy of Cue Health’s point of care molecular COVID-19 test.
On Aug. 17, the company announced the findings of an independent clinical study – the largest of its kind on asymptomatic people – that showed Cue’s COVID test, which produces results in 20 minutes, is as accurate as lab-based PCR tests.
The diagnostic testing and analysis conducted by FH Health revealed a 99.4% match between results from Cue’s test and the reference PCR tests, including 100% clinical sensitivity to detect positive cases, yielding no false negatives. Of this testing population, 98.7% was asymptomatic at varying stages of infection and viral load.
“Rapid and accurate COVID-19 asymptomatic screening has been challenging due to the poor sensitivity of antigen testing and the delays with lab-based PCR testing,” said Dr. Anu Rebbapragada, laboratory director at FH Health. “The findings from our large study indicate that sensitivity of Cue’s POC testing may be an excellent proxy for PCR when accurate and fast results are urgently needed to curb transmission.”
The FH Health analysis included results from 13,848 individuals who accessed COVID-19 Express Testing Services at seven FH Health clinics located in Ontario, Canada between July 17, 2021 and Jan. 31, 2022. The diverse testing population ranged in age from infants to seniors. Specimen collection and Cue COVID-19 testing was performed by registered nurses at FH Health clinic sites. RT-PCR was performed at the FH Health Laboratory, which is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Health. Cue did not provide funding or any other support of the FH Health Study.
Dr. Rebbapragada further noted that due to its high sensitivity and quick turnaround time for results, screening programs utilizing Cue’s COVID-19 test can reduce the likelihood of spread in gatherings, facilitate earlier access to treatment and maintain cost-effectiveness and efficiency by avoiding the logistics and infrastructure needed for lab-based PCR tests and the frequent re-screening needed with lower sensitivity antigen tests.
“We’re proud of the results of this study, which further validates that with Cue, you can achieve diagnostic testing that is accurate, fast and convenient,” said Andy Hudak, vice president of research and development and program management at Cue Health. “As the study demonstrates, the high sensitivity of Cue’s testing platform can quickly identify asymptomatic cases allowing for large groups, such as in the workplace, to gather safely.”
Although COVID is fading from public consciousness compared to the early days of the pandemic, it is still big business for companies like Cue (NASDAQ: HLTH), who’s second quarter revenue of $87.7 million was better than expected due to a higher than anticipated demand for COVID testing.
“We saw strong customer ordering from enterprise customers, direct-to-consumer and the public sector,” said Cue Health CFO John Gallagher during the company’s most recent earnings call on Aug. 10. “Both the private and public sectors exceeded our expectations for the quarter, with our private sector contributing 92% or $80.5 million of sales, an increase of $48.1 million from Q2 last year.”
Cue’s public sector revenues were $7.2 million for the second quarter.
Beyond COVID-19 testing, Cue is advancing point of care tests in a couple other key areas.
During the Aug. 10 call, CEO Khattak announced the company had completed clinical studies for a flu standalone molecular test and had started clinical phase of a flu + COVID Multiplex test. Cue is also “on track” to start clinical studies on a test for respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV) in the third quarter of this year.
“Our first sexual health test, the Chlamydia + Gonorrhea molecular multiplex test is progressing well and we expect to begin clinical studies in the second half of this year,” Khattak added.
CEO: Ayub Khattak
Headquarters: Sorrento Valley
Business: Health technology company that makes digital point-of-care testing solutions
Stock: NASDAQ: HLTH
Revenue: $600-625 million FY2021
Notable: Cue Health was founded in 2010 during another respiratory viral outbreak – the swine flu.