FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Wednesday during an interview with “CBS This Morning” that the new at-home test kits can detect the presence of the novel coronavirus and are as effective as tests administered in a doctor’s office.
The FDA has said patients will be able to collect nasal samples using the kit’s swabs and saline. Once patients collect the specimens, they will mail them to LabCorp lab for testing.
Users can go online and answer a questionnaire about their symptoms. If the symptoms meet FDA guidelines for the virus, a package with a swab and saline solution will be sent in the mail overnight, he said. The user can mail the sample overnight and get results from LabCorp soon after, Hahn said.
The agency said the authorization involved was not for tests that are actually processed at home. LabCorp said it would initially make the tests available to health care workers and first responders who are showing symptoms of covid-19. The company plans to make the test available to consumers in the coming weeks.
Allowing people to self-swab reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others and the need for personal protective equipment, since health care providers are not involved in sample collection, the company said.
While the new test brings much promise, Hahn said the estimated time for a vaccine is still March 2021.