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Accuracy of At-home Covid-19 tests

To date there are 34 At-Home Antigen Diagnostic Tests for SARS-CoV-2 approved by the FDA .  Each with it’s unique attributes on how to achieve a proper diagnostic result and how and where it can be used.

Some go the route of Antigen, some PCR(Polymerase Chain Reaction)-based lab tests, Antigen based tests tend to be rapid tests which give results in matter of 15-30 minutes to an hour, while PCR based take a few days. It all depends on how quick you want the results and what are you willing to pay to get one, as PCR tests tend to run 2x or 3x more than Antigen Rapid Tests.

Independent testing by research group using Abbot’s At-home rapid test BinaxNOW did show that when the rapid test is used by asymptomatic persons the results tend to be less than stellar. These rapid tests tend to be more effective when you have more symptoms. ‘Not detected’ or ‘Negative’ does not mean the virus is not there. To get effective results from the rapid test, the ideal way to test is, Frequently, take an at-home test few times a week as you show symptoms. You might get a negative result one day and positive the next time you test.

There needs to be more data collection of different tests to know what the efficacy of rapid tests are. The At-home products are used to diagnose, but those who use them have no means to report or take part in any research which tends to leave a data hole on the collective accuracy and efficacy.