Covid Worry? As Per FDA, You Still Must Pass Three Home Tests To Be Safe

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : August 16, 2022

The U.S. FDA recommends serial testing in the event of a negative result from an at-home COVID-19 antigen test; this will assist limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by eliminating the possibility that an infection was undetected (false negative result). If you get a negative test for COVID-19 but still have symptoms, the FDA says you should get tested again.

What Does FDA Say?

To be sure that you are free of the COVID-19 virus, you should wait at least five days after taking three negative at-home tests before hugging Grandma.  This comes after a new study found that giving asymptomatic individuals three home COVID-19 tests 48 hours in between testing yielded better accuracy than giving them two tests across three days.

Covid Worry As Per FDA, You Still Must Pass Three Home Tests To Be Safe How

Those who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or want to leave no room for question about their lack of infection are encouraged to do the third test. Despite this caveat, the proposal made on Thursday represents a substantial change in a system where home tests are often sold and distributed in two sets.

Test Performed At Home

Antigen testing performed at home are quick and cheap, but they lack the sensitivity of PCR tests performed in a lab. Although the FDA has approved more than two dozen home antigen tests for coronavirus proteins, the agency notes that these tests are less accurate, mainly when identifying early cases or those without symptoms.

As a result, a home test taken soon after exposure may give a false negative impact, even if the person taking the test shows no symptoms. Because of this, the FDA has suggested performing additional tests, often after 48 hours.

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New Studies And Data

According to a new study by the University of Massachusetts experts, the two-test kits commonly seen for sale at pharmacies and supermarkets are still quite reliable for persons experiencing symptoms. In 93% of cases where COVID-19 was detected using more sensitive lab testing, symptomatic participants who performed home tests twice over 48 hours correctly diagnosed the virus.

However, the accuracy dropped to 63% among individuals without symptoms despite taking two tests over 48 hours. The accuracy increased to 79% after a third test was born two days after the second.

More than 5,000 people participated in the study, part of a broader NIH-funded federal investigation. The 15 days of self-testing consisted of one test every 48 hours. Additionally, samples were gathered and sent to a lab for PCR analysis.

Detection of the covid

Three tests administered over five days were shown to have better sensitivity, allowing for the detection of more cases and the notification of asymptomatic carriers to minimize the spread of infection. 

According to Soni, effective communication is the key to spreading the word that antigen testing is helpful for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Those who are asymptomatic should get tested three times, with at least 48 hours between each, to rule out the possibility of infection. Soni says it’s “not a simple move” to advise three exams for asymptomatic individuals. “From a product (packing) viewpoint, companies would have to decide what makes sense,” Soni explained.

As the public health emergency has been prolonged through the middle of October, private insurers and Medicare are responsible for covering the cost of diagnostic procedures. Representatives from QuidelOrtho, the company that sells the QuickVue home COVID-19 test, said the research proves serial testing is beneficial.

The conclusion

The FDA has mentioned that three tests would be apt for knowing about the test and its results. These tests lack test sensitivity. Several studies conducted backed these results too. 


🟢US Food &Drug(n.d)At-Home COVID-19 Antigen Tests-Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk of False Negative: FDA Safety Communication(Available Online):

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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