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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Could new at-home COVID-19 tests be the key to stopping school outbreaks in Michigan?

Posted at 5:35 AM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 05:35:26-04

The FDA is setting a plan in motion to expand at-home COVID-19 testing. On Monday, it gave the green light to a rapid test called Flow Flex, and in just a few short weeks, the administration plans to double the nation's supply of take-home tests.

Some teachers think this could be the key to stopping transmission in the classroom. On Monday, Michigan reported 95 new school outbreaks.

You won't need a prescription, and you can walk right into the pharmacy, grab it off the shelf and be on your way. You'll have results in minutes.

"I really wanted to be able to just late at night, take the test at home and I wasn't able to find a test in any drug store, at all," Maria Lograsso said.

She's a teacher and a mom who'd like to avoid the disruption of having to quarantine.

"I know they're not as accurate as going to the doctor and getting one, but when you're in a pinch, late at night, you need to know if you're able to go back to work the next day or not," she said.

Over the past several months, pharmacies like CVS have limited purchases of at-home tests to preserve supply.

The White House COVID-19 Task Force recognizes their value, and is investing $2 billion to give people more options.

"Overall, we'll continue to pull every lever we can to further expand the manufacturing and the production of these tests in order to make them more widely available and to drive down the cost per test," White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said.

On Monday, the FDA gave emergency use authorization to another test – FlowFlex. The agency said it would double the nation's supply in the coming weeks.

"These are clearly convenient and have become very popular and are in very high demand," Zients said.

However, infectious disease experts admit they aren't totally accurate.

"If you're feeling sick and coughing and all of that and want to confirm it's COVID-19, they probably work fairly well. They're still not perfect," Dr. Matthew Sims, from Beaumont Health, said.

FlowFlex is 99.3% accurate, according to the company that manufactures it. They didn't say how much the tests will cost, but most of the ones on the market are around $23.

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