The Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use of the first at-home coronavirus test.
According to the Lucira Health company website, the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular single-test that’s expected to cost $50 or less and give you results in 30 minutes. The test works by putting a swab sample in a vial and then placing it in a hand-held test unit. After 30 minutes or less, the light-up display will indicate whether the person is positive or negative.
According to NPR, the FDA has approved the test’s prescription for people 14 or older who have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19. The thing is, the test will initially be limited to Florida and California before later expanding to other U.S. states by the spring.
“While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement.
Hahn added: “This new testing option is an important diagnostic advancement to address the pandemic and reduce the public burden of disease transmission.”
Jeff Shuren, FDA’s director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, added in the statement that the test is “a significant step toward the FDA’s nationwide response to COVID-19.”
“Now, more Americans who may have COVID-19 will be able to take immediate action, based on their results, to protect themselves and those around them,” Shuren added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, then told CNN that he also thinks this at-home test as a “first step.” For Dr. Fauci, this is a first step in the development of a test that doesn’t require a prescription.
As exciting as this news may be, however, the test is only meant for emergency cases at the moment. In addition, Lucira Health noted that the test “has not been evaluated” in asymptomatic people. So it looks like it really is just a first step.