An at-home COVID-19 test that can also detect other common respiratory viruses like the flu was authorized for emergency use Monday by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The test is made by Labcorp, a laboratory testing company based in North Carolina, and is the first nonprescription test authorized to look for multiple respiratory viruses in one sample. COVID symptoms can be similar to those from other respiratory illnesses like the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, so the new test is meant to help people more easily determine which virus they have.
Labcorp’s test consists of a nasal swab, performed at home, which is then sent to the company for testing. Diagnostic results from the test are provided through an online portal. If the test is positive, a health care professional will follow up, a release says. The tests can be purchased online or in stores.
“This is the first test authorized for flu and RSV, along with COVID-19, where an individual can self-identify their need for a test, order it, collect their sample and send it to the lab for testing, without consulting a health care professional,” Jeff Shuren, director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.
Shuren also said the U.S. is moving closer to diagnostic testing for respiratory viruses that can be performed entirely at home.