FDA Approves 2 Rapid, At-Home COVID Tests

A nurse swabs the nose of a patient as he administers a COVID-19 test. The Food and Drug Administration approved two new rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests for use by Americans Wednesday.
A nurse swabs the nose of a patient as he administers a COVID-19 test. The Food and Drug Administration approved two new rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests for use by Americans Wednesday.
Jure Makovec/AFP via Getty Images

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More consumers will soon be able to test themselves for COVID-19 from the comfort of their own home. On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved two rapid antigen home tests for use in the U.S.

Americans will soon be able to purchase Abbott's BinaxNOW and Quidel Quickvue tests at drug stores. The two options join a test made by Ellume, which received FDA approval in December, in the market. The two, newly-approved swab tests will be sold at a lower price point.

The BinaxNOW and Quickvue tests are expected to be sold in two-packs for around $15-20; Ellume costs $30.

Experts believe the availability of at-home coronavirus tests could help slow the continued spread of the virus, which is contagious even when people are asymptomatic.

"Screening testing, especially with the over-the-counter tests authorized today, is an important part of the country's pandemic response—many schools, workplaces, communities, and other entities are setting up testing programs to quickly screen for COVID-19," said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina told NPR that if "we can stop all the outbreaks from growing, then boom, we can open up businesses and schools without risk because the outbreaks...even if a case does come in, it fizzles out very quickly."

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