The coronavirus pandemic has inspired numerous surprising business combinations. The latest such collaboration is between Quest Diagnostics (DGX -1.83%) and Walmart (WMT -1.33%), which will join forces with privately held specialist DroneUp to test a program that uses drones to deliver COVID-19 tests to customers.
The pilot program, announced Tuesday, will take place in North Las Vegas. Drones will take off with their payloads of COVID-19 diagnostic kits from the Walmart located there, to be delivered to single-family homes within a one-mile radius of the store.
Once a recipient gets their test kit, they will collect their own sample using a nasal swab, then seal it in a prepaid shipping envelope and mail it to a Quest Diagnostics laboratory for processing. Once the results are available, the company will send them to the patient through its MyQuest web portal and/or mobile app.
People who live within the pilot program's radius who are interested in participating can apply online at www.GetDroneTest.com. Participants must be 18 or older, and meet both the Centers for Disease Control and state and local health guidelines for testing. The test is free of charge.
If it proves successful, the program will surely be expanded, as there is strong demand for effective COVID-19 testing solutions. "We will take the learnings from this pilot and enhance the ways we deliver healthcare services to the patients we serve," said Quest general manager of extended care Dan Haemmerle.
On Wednesday, Quest's shares weren't exactly zooming skyward. In late-afternoon trading, they were down by 3.3%, while the S&P 500 index was off by about 2%.