US Food and Drug Administration approved on Tuesday emergency use of the first-ever COVID-19 test that can be performed entirely at home.
This is the first test that can be fully self-administered and provides results within 30 minutes or less, according to the FDA.
The test can be performed by collecting a sample, either a nasal swab or saliva, and swirling it in a vial of laboratory solution. This solution is then plugged into a portable device with a light-up display, which shows whether the person is negative or positive for the virus after 30 minutes or less.
The test will be available by prescription to individuals aged 14 years and older who have symptoms for COVID-19. A healthcare provider can also administer it to patients under 14.
It is also authorised for use at doctor’s offices, hospitals and in emergency rooms.
The single-use testing kit, developed by Lucira Health, is intended to cost less than $50. It contains a swab, solution vial and a portable unit.
“The new testing option is an important diagnostic advancement to address the pandemic,” said the FDA.
In July, the FDA had encouraged companies to develop testing kits that could be used outside the labs.
These at-homes kits are likely to reduce the coronavirus transmission between people. They will not have to wait for results after their samples are sent out to laboratories, by which time the virus may have spread on a wide scale.