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Here’s what you need to know if your at-home COVID test is expired

EL PASO, Texas -- With Covid-19 infections on the rise, many people will be using at-home rapid tests. Local experts, however, are recommending you double check the back of the box for an expiration date.

Dr. Armando Meza, chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech University Health Science Center of El Paso, told ABC-7 at-home tests are made with specific chemicals that make up the test's stability guaranteed up until the expiration date.

Food and Drug Administration said the shelf-life for most tests if four to six days from the day the test was manufactured.

Once that expiration date has passed, "if the result is positive or negative, there's really no way that you can guarantee that is real the result," said Dr. Meza.

"When these tests were developed, the approval that came with it didn't really guarantee that they're going to last much longer than a few months. And I think that's what we're facing now," said Dr. Meza.

But don't be so quick to throw them out. The Food and Drug Administration recently extended the shelf-life for several popular at-home tests. This comes as man Americans are seeing more Covid-19 infections including the new BA.5 omicron variant. Experts say it's even more transmissible and now makes up about two-thirds of new cases.

El Paso Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza told ABC-7 there has not been a reported case of the variant, but cases are climbing and less than one percent of El Pasoans report their at-home to the health department.

"I think that it's important that if you have a symptom, and you still use an expired test kit, and it's negative, obviously, you have to get another test with the same technology but not expired, or you have to get a PCR test," Dr. Meza said.

To make an appointment for a Covid-19 test, click here.

For more information from the FDA on at-home tests, click here.

Here's a list of some at-home tests that have been extended:

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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