Experts are warning people to check the expiration dates on their COVID-19 tests. For many, there may be tests laying around in a closet or bathroom drawer that were never used.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that some COVID-19 tests may be used even after their printed expiration dates, but with specific exceptions.
The FDA said in written guidance that, “An extended expiration date means the manufacturer provided data showing that the shelf-life is longer than was known when the test was first authorized.”
You can find out if your specific at home diagnostic test is truly expired, per FDA guidelines on the agency's website.
But do your research there and try and be sure if your test is allowed to be used past the original printed expiration date.
Jamie Alan, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University told Prevention, “The test might be negative because the reagents or ‘ingredients’ are past their shelf life and are not working as they should.”
Alan said, “If you get a positive, you are probably positive. If you get a negative, it would be good to follow up with another test, either a PCR test or another rapid at-home test."