FDA approves 2 fast coronavirus checks to be offered over-the-counter for at-home use

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) this week authorized two fast, over-the-counter coronavirus checks that can quickly hit drugstore cabinets for straightforward, at-home testing capabilities. 

The FDA in a Wednesday announcement mentioned it has authorized Abbott’s BinaxNow and Quidel’s QuickVue checks that the general public will quickly have the ability to buy with out a physician’s prescription.

A BinaxNOW fast COVID-19 take a look at made by Abbott Laboratories, in Tacoma, Wash. On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, the FDA mentioned Abbott’s BinaxNow and Quidel’s QuickVue checks can now be offered with out a prescription for shoppers to check themselves repeatedly at dwelling.
(AP Photograph/Ted S. Warren)

“Screening testing, particularly with the over-the-counter checks approved at the moment, is a vital a part of the nation’s pandemic response—many colleges, workplaces, communities, and different entities are organising testing applications to shortly display screen for COVID-19. With the FDA’s authorization of a number of checks, the general public might be assured these checks have met our scientific requirements for emergency use authorization. As we’ve mentioned all alongside if it’s a great take a look at, we’ll authorize it,” mentioned Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Heart for Gadgets and Radiological Well being, in an announcement. 

Each checks require the person to gather a pattern through a nasal swab that’s then inserted right into a take a look at strip. Outcomes take between 10 and 20 minutes. 


Abbott mentioned its take a look at could be priced within the “single digits” per take a look at and must be obtainable in “coming weeks” at pharmacies, supermarkets and different chains. The corporate can produce about 50 million checks monthly. Quidel didn’t disclose pricing for its take a look at.

Each firms mentioned they might promote their checks in two packs. Repeat testing is essential to scale back the possibilities of false outcomes. Each checks can be utilized by adults to check youngsters 2 years and older.

Whereas the transfer by the FDA is predicted to vastly broaden the provision of low-cost dwelling checks that many specialists have advocated because the early days of the outbreak, the announcement got here as U.S. testing numbers proceed to slip, even because the variety of new coronavirus infections is rising once more.

Nonetheless, frequent self-testing is taken into account key to assist reopen faculties, universities and workplaces as vaccinations ramp up.


Dr. Michael Mina of Harvard mentioned the expanded testing choices could be crucial as new virus variants unfold and researchers examine how lengthy safety from vaccines lasts.

“Vaccines are extremely essential however they don’t seem to be the end-all, be-all to this pandemic,” Mina mentioned. “We want different instruments in our arsenal and the widespread availability and fast scale-up of checks for individuals to make use of within the privateness of their houses goes to be a unprecedented achieve.”

Final month, the FDA eased its requirements for reviewing fast screening checks, after months of criticism from Mina and different specialists that they have been delaying the introduction of elevated testing.

The Related Press contributed to this report. 

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