According to an announcement made on Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first-ever at-home test for both COVID-19 and the flu. The move is expected to make testing for both illnesses more convenient and accessible for people.
The test, which is called the BinaxNOW COVID-19/Flu Combo Test, is made by Abbott Laboratories. The test comes in a box that contains two test cards and instructions for use. People can take the test home and receive results in about 15 minutes.
The test uses a nasal swab to collect a sample, and it can detect both COVID-19 and the flu virus. According to the FDA, the test has a high degree of accuracy, with a sensitivity of 97.4% for detecting COVID-19 and 95.5% for detecting the flu.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement, “The authorization of this test represents a significant step forward in our fight against COVID-19 and the flu. By allowing people to test for both illnesses at home, we can help reduce the spread of these viruses and keep our communities safe.”
The authorization of the at-home test comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, with more than 500 million cases and over 10 million deaths worldwide. The flu, which is also a highly contagious respiratory illness, poses a significant health risk each year, with an estimated 8% of the U.S. population affected annually.
The FDA’s authorization of the at-home test is expected to make it easier for people to get tested for both illnesses, especially those unable or unwilling to go to a testing site or doctor’s office. It is also expected to reduce the burden on healthcare facilities that are already stretched thin.
In a statement, Abbott Laboratories said it plans to make the test available to consumers in the coming weeks. The company also said it is working with the U.S. government to distribute the test to schools, workplaces, and other places where people gather.
The authorization of the at-home test is just the latest development in the fight against COVID-19 and the flu. Public health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated against the flu and the COVID-19 virus to reduce the risk of illness and death. The at-home test provides a new tool for people to use in the fight against these illnesses.