Your COVID Test Expiration Could Be Wrong: How to Find Correct Expiration Dates


Visit the WHO and CDC websites for the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic.

The bad news? The federal government will stop taking orders for free COVID-19 testing On Friday 2 Sept.. The good news? That home text can last longer than you think, well past the expiration dates listed on their boxes.

Of the 22 home COVID-19 tests listed on the FDA’s website, 12 of them have extended their shelf life since they were released, including testing by iHealth, one of the most common home testing providers.

We explain what the expiration dates on COVID-19 test boxes mean for the home and which expiration dates have been extended by the US Food and Drug Administration.

If you notice that the expiration date for your tests has been extended, we recommend that you write the new expiration date on the box. Keeping track of your home test kits is especially important because the ommicron BA.5 subvariant continues to drive COVID-19 cases. For more, here’s how effective home COVID-19 testing are in detecting BA.5.

What do the COVID-19 test expiration dates mean?

The expiration date printed on your box of COVID-19 tests is the last day the test is expected to perform effectively. In general, the FDA approves home testing kits that have a shelf life of about four to six months, but that shelf life can be extended if the manufacturer finds more data showing that the tests are still accurate after the expiration date.

Do I need to use a COVID test kit after it has expired?

No. The FDA does not recommend using expired home COVID-19 tests. Here’s why: The COVID-19 test parts can deteriorate or break over time, leading to inaccurate or invalid test results.

Again, it is possible that the expiration dates for home COVID-19 test kits may be extended as more data is collected, but for now you should not use a test that has expired. But if your box of test kits shows a past expiration date, check this FDA’s list of extended expiration dates to see if it’s OK to use yours (more on that below).

How do I know if the shelf life of my COVID tests has been extended?

If the manufacturer determines that the shelf life is longer than the expected four to six months, it can request the FDA to allow an extended expiration date. Once that happens, the manufacturer can notify customers of the new expiration dates. However, if you didn’t purchase the tests from the manufacturer, you probably won’t receive notifications.

For the latest information on the expiration dates of your COVID-19 test kits, please refer to the FDA’s At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests webpage.

On that page, the FDA page lists the COVID-19 tests in alphabetical order, or you can use a search box to find your test instantly. In the far right column of a table, the FDA lists the shelf life of each test and whether it has been extended. If the expiration date has been extended, an additional link provides information about the exact expiration dates for specific test lots.

The links below contain lot numbers and expiration dates for the 12 brands of at-home COVID-19 tests that have been extended shelf life by the FDA. You can find the lot number for your home COVID test on the box, usually on a sticker with the expiration date.

We will continue to update this list as the FDA extends the shelf life of another COVID-19 rapid antigen test.

For more information on COVID-19 testing, here is: how to pay for COVID testing at home with your FSA or HSA.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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