FDA issues alert about bad at-home virus tests

An artist’s conception shows microscopic coronavirus particles. (CDC Illustration)

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about unauthorized kits that are being marketed to test for coronavirus in the home.

“At this time, the FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19,” the agency said today in a news release.

Several companies have begun marketing test kits that let consumers to take their own samples, using nasal swabs and/or saliva collection kits, and then send them in to a lab for analysis. In some cases, the consumer is asked to provide a spit sample, as an alternative or a backup. In today’s alert, the FDA left the door open for the use of such tests.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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