What should I do with an expired COVID test?

Have you ever been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or had the sniffles, and reached for an at-home test in your medicine cabinet—only to notice it’s way past the expiration date stamped on the box?

Don’t toss the test kit in the trash, says Mansoor Amiji, university distinguished professor of pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering.

He says the FDA has extended the shelf life of some common at-home antigen tests by months after new evaluations showed they remain stable for longer than first thought.

When the at-home tests for SARS-Cov-2 debuted, there was a lot of confusion about how reliable they would be for an extended period of time, Amiji says.

To be on the safe side, the FDA chose to be “very conservative” in terms of shelf life, he says. The federal agency initially said the tests expired after six to eight months of manufacture.

But since the first at-home antigen test for COVID-19 came out three years ago this month, test manufacturers have had time to conduct longer-range assessments of shelf stability. 

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