The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the first Covid-19 test that people can take at home by themselves and get results without the help of a lab, a long-awaited step.
The single-use, disposable test from Lucira Health Inc. uses nasal swabs and can be self-administered by anyone with a doctor’s prescription ages 14 years or older. The test searches for the genetic material of the new coronavirus and can give results in up to 30 minutes, the company said.
Some Covid-19 tests have been previously authorized for at-home collection, but Lucira’s is the first that can be fully self-performed and provide results at home minutes later.
Public-health experts have been clamoring for fast, easy-to-use at-home Covid-19 testing, especially as the virus is spreading at increasing rates around the U.S. If made widely available and cost-effective, at-home testing could become a valuable tool in helping people to safely return to schools and workplaces before widespread vaccination.
The test, which the FDA cleared late Tuesday, is expected to be first available at Sutter Health in Northern California and at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, followed by a national rollout by early spring 2021.