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:
- BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag Card Home Test (Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough, Inc.): Extended to 15 months from 12 months
- BinaxNOW Covid-19 Antigen Self Test (Abbott Diagnostics Scarborough, Inc.): Extended to 15 months from 12 months
- CareStart Covid-19 Antigen Home Test (Access Bio, Inc.): Extended to 12 months from 9 months
- Flowflex Covid-19 Antigen Home Test (ACON Laboratories Inc.): Extended to 16 months from 12 months
- BD Veritor At-Home Covid-19 Test (Becton, Dickinson and Company): 6 months
- Celltrion DiaTrust Covid-19 Ag Home Test (Celltrion USA, Inc.): Extended to 18 months from 12 months
- Cue Covid-19 Test for Home and Over the Counter (OTC) Use (Cue Health Inc.): 4 months
- Detect Covid-19 Test (Detect, Inc.): Extended to 8 months from 6 months
- Ellume Covid-19 Home Test (Ellume Limited): 12 months
- iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (iHealth Labs, Inc.): Extended to 9 months from 6 months
- SCoV-2 Ag Detect Rapid Self-Test (InBios International Inc.): Extended to 10 months from 6 months
- Lucira Check-It Covid-19 Test Kit (Lucira Health, Inc.): 6 months
- MaximBio ClearDetect Covid-19 Antigen Home Test (Maxim Biomedical, Inc.): 6 months
- InteliSwab Covid-19 Rapid Test (OraSure Technologies, Inc.): 9 months
- OHC Covid-19 Antigen Self Test (OSANG LLC): 8 months
- INDICAID Covid-19 Rapid Antigen At-Home Test (PHASE Scientific International, Ltd.): 12 months
- QuickVue At-Home OTC Covid-19 Test (Quidel Corporation): 12 months