Students activate the machines with their smartphones, by scanning a QR code, at no cost to the student. The machines come with a dropbox, so a user can collect a sample and submit his or her test immediately.
Shield T3 promises results within 24 hours via text message and email. Universities are currently paying $20 to $40 per test for this service including the cost of the vending machine.
“The reality is that most campuses don’t have pharmacies where students can easily access tests, much less our highly accurate PCR test,” said David Clark, Shield T3’s chief executive. “Further tests of all kinds are expensive. This is an easy way for colleges to continue to secure affordable, high-quality testing for their students.”
College administrators are able to access demand and positivity-rate data from the tests purchased from their machines via an online dashboard. It’s a far more affordable way to get a read on infection rates than widespread testing.
“Outbreaks are still happening and colleges still need to ensure that in-person classes can be held safely,” said Bill Jackson, Shield T3’s principal officer of Shield T3. “This is a way, with little to no effort on the school’s part, to protect students and gauge the number of students who are infected.”
Shield T3 grew out of an easy-to-administer PCR saliva test developed by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2020. The company has a track record, having run more than 4.8 million saliva tests nationwide for more than 250 schools, businesses and other organizations.