FDA approves 1st at-home coronavirus test that allows users to self-swab

The test from LabCorp will initially only be available to health care workers and first responders under a doctor’s orders.

SHARE FDA approves 1st at-home coronavirus test that allows users to self-swab
US President Donald Trump holds up swabs as he speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. New York state will begin the nation’s most aggressive COVID-19 antibody testing campaign this week even as some states begin to loosen restrictions amid pressure to restart the economy.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 19: US President Donald Trump holds up swabs as he speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on April 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. New York state will begin the nation’s most aggressive COVID-19 antibody testing campaign this week even as some states begin to loosen restrictions amid pressure to restart the economy. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** ORG XMIT: 775505379

Getty

WASHINGTON — U.S. health regulators on Tuesday OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states.

The test from LabCorp will initially only be available to health care workers and first responders under a doctor’s orders. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S.

Get the latest news about the coronavirus and its ripple effects in Chicago and Illinois in our live blog.

Allowing people to self-swab at home would help reduce infection risks for front-line health care workers and help conserve protective gear.

For the home test, people are initially screened with an online questionnaire. If authorized by a physician, LabCorp will ship a testing kit to their home. The kit includes cotton swabs, a collection tube, an insulated pouch and box to ship the specimen back to LabCorp. To take a sample, a cotton swab is swirled in each nostril. The test results are posted online to a secure company website.

The company said it will make the test available in the coming weeks. Each kit will cost $119. The kits will not be available in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Those states have laws prohibiting testing with at-home kits.

Initially, the Food and Drug Administration required health care workers wearing masks, gloves and other protective gear to collect all samples from potential coronavirus patients, usually by sticking a long swab down the nose or throat.

More recently, the FDA has endorsed the self-swab method. LabCorp’s test is the first that allows it to be done at home without supervision.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement the agency authorized the self-swab test based on data showing it is “as safe and accurate as sample collection at a doctor’s office, hospital or other testing site.”

The Latest
What “Campaigns, Inc.” could use is a tighter focus on its central characters’ mercenary motivations.
Bally’s has filed its application with the Illinois Gaming Board seeking approval for a $1.7 billion riverfront casino-resort. The city is hoping a temporary casino can open by next summer. But the board has up to a year to review the application, with the possibility of an extension beyond that.
In an expansion of its Chicago operations, the company is leasing space from developer Sterling Bay.
The Obama Foundation reported on its new IRS 990 that in 2021, the foundation collected $159.6 million, down from $171 million in 2020.
Students from multiple city schools got together to create a mosaic of the Ukrainian flag — created with nearly 5,000 cereal boxes — to break a world record.