BOSTON (CBS) – Getting your hands on rapid tests for COVID-19 has become the insane game of going from store to store, constantly checking websites.
Those lucky enough to come across a shop filled with tests often post about their treasure on community Facebook pages and friends’ text chains. As a result, supplies run out in hours or even minutes.
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But when it comes to ordering online, a Chicago area teen got all the guesswork out of the way. 14-year-old Eli Coustan is the brain behind it Findacovidtest.org. It is a website that tracks sales of all the major home antigen tests.
It monitors stores like Walgreens, CVS, Sam’s Club, and Target, as well as manufacturers who sell direct to consumers. Tests you can look for include BinaxNow, On / Go IHealthLabs, FlowFlex, and even a PCR test offered by Amazon.
Eli tells us that he got the idea when he and his family were recently planning a meeting with relatives. “We wanted to be extra careful,” he said.
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But when they couldn’t find a test, Eli decided to use his computer skills. “I coded a computer program that runs every five to ten minutes that goes to Amazon, CVS, Walgreens and checks to see if there is an” Add to Cart “button that signals the item is in stock,” he explained .
This is not Eli’s first attempt at helping people during the pandemic. When vaccines became scarce, he founded ILVACCINE.ORG to help people find available vaccination dates. “I was able to use many of the same techniques to create Findacovidtest.org.”
Eli tells us that he sees thousands of visitors to the site every day. The vaccine website had 450,000 visitors earlier this year.
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Eli says he hopes to study computer programming in college, but he wants to use that knowledge to help people.