Walgreens has launched a new interactive tracking tool, the Walgreens COVID-19 Index, to advance the rapid detection of omicron and track variant activity.

The tool uses testing data from Aegis Sciences Corporation and uniquely identifies the spread of current and emerging virus variants in real-time.

The company stated that Walgreens COVID-19 Index can track the spread of the omicron variant within 24 to 48 hours.

The tool offers a snapshot of data for the past seven days based on positive tests analysed at more than 5,000 Walgreens locations across the nation.

According to the data collected and tracked by the tool, more than 95% of all positive cases of Covid-19 nationally are presumed to be the omicron variant.

This reinforces the importance of Covid-19 vaccinations and testing to reduce the spread of the disease.

According to the Walgreens COVID-19 Index, South Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, Nevada, Florida, Mississippi and Texas are the top states for positive Covid-19 case rates.

All of these states have positivity rates of more than 45%.

Walgreens chief medical officer Dr Kevin Ban said: “Through Walgreens’ partnership with Aegis Sciences, we have the ability to provide this interactive tracking tool and inform the development of strategies and resources to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

“This provides a leading consumer-centric healthcare solution to support our communities and partners, building on our nationwide footprint and health offerings.”

The Walgreens COVID-19 Index is based on data obtained from PCR test samples collected at specific Walgreens locations and tested by Aegis Sciences.

Aegis Sciences lab operations senior vice-president Dr Matthew Hardison said: “Data regarding spread of variants is important to our understanding of viral transmission and, as new variants emerge, it will be critical to continue to track this information quickly to predict which communities are most at risk.”

Last May, Quidel collaborated with Walgreens to make QuickVue at-home rapid antigen tests available to consumers without a prescription.