The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first Covid-19 tests for consumers to use repeatedly at home to screen for infection, even if they have no symptoms.
The FDA approved three tests that are designed to be used for several days or multiple times in a row, called serial tests. Consumers can purchase two of them over the counter without a prescription; the other is used in schools and doctor’s offices and requires a prescription. The FDA has previously authorized their use in people with symptoms.
In the past year, some US public health authorities have called for a rapid Covid-19 test, which can quickly and frequently screen the virus to help control the spread of infection among asymptomatic people. The FDA has cleared some tests and consumers can buy them over the counter and use them at home. But they have not been designated as serial tests, and have not been widely used.
If a company with remanufacturing capabilities obtains Wednesday’s authorization, these tests purchased by asymptomatic people over the counter can be reused, which will make rapid home testing more accessible and affordable.
Mara Aspinall, co-founder of Arizona State University̵