On Tuesday, US regulators allowed the emergency use of the first ambulancea test that can be performed entirely at home. The announcement from the Food and Drug Administration is an important step in the US effort to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities outside healthcare facilities and test sites – but the test will require a prescription, possibly limiting its initial use.
The FDA has issued an emergency permit for the 30-minute test kit from Lucira Health, a California-based manufacturer.
The company’s test allows consumers to take a swab to take a nasal sample. The sample is then rotated in a vial, which is included in a portable device that interprets the results and shows whether the person has been positive or negative for the virus.
To date, the agency has authorized nearly 300 coronavirus tests. Most of them require a nasal swab made by a healthcare professional and must be treated in laboratories using high-tech testing equipment. A handful allow people to collect their own sample at home ̵
Health experts have been calling for months to allow people to be tested at home, reducing implementation time and the potential spread of the virus among healthcare professionals.
Lucira did not immediately respond to a request for further details.