Is Your At-Home COVID Test Expired? Here’s How to Check, and How Long The FDA Says Your Kit Should Last – NBC Chicago

For those who have COVID symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, at-home COVID test kits are an easy way to identify negative or positive COVID cases. However, all at-home COVID tests, including the free ones mailed by the federal government through the United States Postal Service, can only be used by a specific date.

According to the Food Drug Administration, at-home COVID tests have both a specific shelf life and expiration date.

“Shelf life indicates how long the test should work as expected and is measured from the date the test was manufactured,” says the FDA. “The expiration date for COVID-19 home tests stated on the package label is set to the end of shelf life and is the date by which the test is expected to perform as accurately as when manufactured.

Typically, the FDA approves an at-home COVID shelf life of about four to six months from the time the test was administered, the agency said.

However, once the test manufacturer has more “stability test results”, such as 12 or 18 months, the test manufacturer may contact the FDA to request that the agency approve a longer shelf life.

According to the FDA, stability testing is “where the manufacturer keeps the tests for the period of suggested shelf life (plus a little extra time to ensure the expiration date is reliable) and then evaluates their ability to perform accurately. “

After reviewing the test results, the FDA may then decide to extend the kit’s expiration date.

Here’s a look at all of the at-home COVID tests that are FDA-approved, according to the CDC, and the shelf life of each kit.

  • BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test15 months
  • BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test15 months
  • CareStart COVID-19 Antigen Home Test (alternative name is “on/go”)12 months
  • Flowflex COVID-19 antigen home test, 16 months
  • BD Veritor COVID-19 home test6 months
  • Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 Ag home test18 months
  • Cue COVID-19 test for home and over-the-counter (OTC) use.4 months
  • Detect Covid-19 test12 months
  • Ellume COVID-19 Home Test12 months
  • Genabio COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit18 months
  • iHealth COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (alternative name is “Good to know”)12 months
  • SCoV-2 Ag Detect Quick self-test13 months
  • Lucira CHECK-IT COVID-19 test kit18 months
  • MaximBio ClearDetect COVID-19 Antigen Home Test8 months
  • InteliSwab COVID-19 rapid test12 months
  • OHC COVID-19 Antigen Self Test8 months
  • INDICAID COVID-19 rapid antigen test for use at home12 months
  • QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test12 months
  • Pilot COVID-19 home test 19 months
  • CLINITEST COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test11 months
  • Speedy Swab Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Self Test6 months
  • Rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test card6 months
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According to the FDA, the expiration date of each varies and should be listed on the packaging.

While the CDC claims that “positive self-test results are very reliable,” it acknowledges that negative results don’t necessarily rule out infection, especially in symptomatic individuals.

And under FDA’s revised guidelines, people who have been exposed to COVID-19 may need to take up to three home tests to make sure they don’t have asymptomatic infections.

According to the CDC, testing does not have to be done only by people with symptoms. And while it’s not currently necessary to test from isolation after contracting COVID-19, Chicago’s top doctor has warned that the new BA.5 omicron subvariant is causing people to test positive for longer.

“So just a reminder, if you get COVID, you have to stay home for five days regardless of your immunization status,” said Dr. Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwady during a recent Facebook Live update.

“If your symptoms improve, are gone by day five, you can leave your house, but you must continue to mask for days six to ten while you look after others. We see some examples, particularly at BA.4 and [BA.5] of people who test positive for a longer period of time, occasionally negative and later positive again.”

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