It’s the season for runny noses, coughs, and other symptoms that may have us reaching for an at-home COVID-19 test kit. While you grab the box you may glance at the expiration date and notice it is expired or nearing expiration and wonder if it is still reliable and safe to use.
According to the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA), “COVID-19 test manufacturers perform studies to show how long after manufacturing COVID-19 tests perform as accurately as the day the test was manufactured. The shelf-life is how long the test should perform as expected and is measured from the date the test was manufactured. The expiration date is set at the end of the shelf-life and is the date through which the test is expected to perform as accurately as when manufactured.”
Once the test kits near their expiration dates, manufacturers test them for accuracy and based on the performance results can apply to the FDA to extend the expiration date.
You can check the Expiration Date column of the List of Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests to see if the expiration date for your at-home COVID-19 test has been extended and how to find any new expiration date. You can also check the manufacturers website directly, which is listed on the box.
Please don’t discard any expired COVID-19 test kits without checking online to see if the expiration dates have been extended. They may be extended more than once, or on an ongoing basis.