Skip to content
Do at-home COVID tests, including free government ones, expire?  – NBC Chicago

With home COVID testing now readily available, some might be saving for when they need to test, but how long can you actually wait?

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, tests, including those sent to Americans by the government for free, may expire.

“COVID-19 tests and the parts that make them up can degrade or break down over time,” the FDA states on its website. “For this reason, expired test kits could give inaccurate test results.”

The duration of the tests will depend on the manufacturer.

Late last month, the FDA extended the shelf life of iHealth’s rapid home tests to nine months. This test brand was among those distributed free of charge by the government.

The problem? Tests should be stored between 2 and 30 degrees Celsius, or between 35 and 86 degrees Farenheit.

Similarly, in January, the FDA extended the shelf life of BinaxNOW tests to 15 months – for tests stored at room temperature.

Typically, the FDA says COVID tests expire between four and six months from the date the test was manufactured.

“COVID-19 test makers perform studies to show how long after manufacture COVID-19 tests work as accurately as the day the test was manufactured,” the FDA reports. “Because it takes time for test manufacturers to perform stability testing, the FDA typically allows at-home COVID-19 testing with an expiration date of approximately four to six months from the day the test was tested. manufactured, based on the initial results of the study.”

But once additional studies are completed, manufacturers can request extended expirations.

“Once the test manufacturer has more stability test results, such as 12 or 18 months, the test manufacturer can contact the FDA to request that the FDA allow a longer expiration date,” as seen with iHealth, according to the agency.

The FDA has said it does not recommend using a test after the stated expiration date.

NBC Chicago

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.