February 25, 2024

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Interior The Freshmaker

How long does a COVID-19 at-home test last?

The shelf life of many at-home and rapid tests, including the BinaxNOW brand, have been extended by the Food and Drug Administration by a few months.

COVID-19 has crept back into southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky as two omicron subvariants have become the predominant strain of infection locally. But if you’re looking to shake the dust off of your at-home rapid antigen tests to use before a late-summer vacation or a visit to grandma, there are some factors to consider. 

The first is effectiveness. Though studies regarding the accuracy of at-home tests were performed specifically on previous variants, experts say the sensitivity on the tests should be enough to pick up on BA.4 and BA.5, two highly infectious omicron subvariants currently spreading throughout Ohio and the Cincinnati region. 

A study of the effectiveness of BinaxNow, a commonly used at-home rapid antigen test, found that the BinaxNow test accurately registered a positive result in 95% of samples that were also found positive by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.