Expiry dates for COVID-19 tests aren’t as reliable as they look on the box
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Did you order everythingof the federal government? If not, now is the time to do so. The has led to a summer surge in cases, and ordering your home test kits on COVIDtests.gov only takes 2 minutes. But if you have already ordered your , you’re probably wondering if those from January’s first round can still be used. If you notice that your box of COVID-19 home tests has passed its expiration date, does that mean you will get an inaccurate result?
Not exactly. After a COVID-19 test has been approved and used for a year or more, the manufacturer can use their data to ask the Food and Drug Administration to extend their shelf life. Of the 22 COVID-19 home tests listed on the FDA’s website, nine have had their shelf lives extended since publication, including iHealth, one of the most common home test providers. in the first free shipments.
We will explain what the expiration dates for COVID-19 home tests mean and which expiration dates have been extended based on information from the FDA. To find out more, hereare detecting .
What do the expiry dates for COVID-19 tests mean?
The expiration date listed on your box of COVID-19 tests is the last day the test should work effectively. Typically, the FDA allows home test kits with a shelf life of around four to six months, but that shelf life could be extended if the manufacturer finds more data showing the tests are still accurate after expiration date.
Should I use a COVID test kit after it expires?
No. The FDA does not recommend using expired home COVID-19 tests. Here’s why: COVID-19 test pieces can degrade or break down over time, leading to inaccurate or invalid test results.
Again, it is possible that the expiration dates for home COVID-19 test kits will be extended as more data is collected, but at this time you should not use a test that has expired. But, if your box of test kits shows a past expiration date, check out this list of extended expiration dates from the FDA to see if you can use yours (see below).
How do I know if the shelf life of my COVID tests has been extended?
If the manufacturer finds that the shelf life is longer than the expected four to six months, they can ask the FDA to allow an extended expiration date. Once this happens, the manufacturer can notify customers of the new expiration dates. However, if you did not purchase the tests through the manufacturer, you will probably not receive any notification.
For the latest information on the expiration dates of your COVID-19 test kits, be sure to check the FDA’s COVID-19 home diagnostic testing webpage.
On this page, the FDA page lists COVID-19 tests alphabetically, or you can use a search box to find your test directly. In the rightmost column of a table, the FDA lists the shelf life of each test and whether it has been extended. If the expiration date has been extended, an additional link will provide information on exact expiration dates for specific test lots.
The links below include the lot numbers and expiration dates of the nine brands of COVID-19 home tests whose shelf life has been extended by the FDA. You can find your home COVID test’s lot number on its box, usually on a sticker with its expiration date.
We will continue to update this list if the FDA extends the shelf life of any other COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.
To learn more about COVID-19 testing, here.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.