FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The first at-home COVID-19 test that doesn’t require a prescription will soon be on store shelves.
The FDA announced its approval Tuesday, Dec. 15.
“I think it’s a game changer,” said Dr. Diana Cervantes, an epidemiologist at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
People will be able to buy it for about $30.
You can find out if you’re positive or negative for the virus within 20 minutes, without having to send your sample to a lab.
The FDA believes the speed and convenience of the test will help it play a major role in the pandemic response.
“It just allows more people to get tested, and of course whenever you’re able to identify more cases, then they’re able to stay at home and prevent contact with other people and spreading the virus,” said Dr. Cervantes.
The over-the-counter test could be available as early as January, but initial supplies will be limited.
The Australian manufacturer, Ellume, plans to ramp up production and deliver 20 million kits to the U.S. in the first half of 2021.
“As more tests come out and they become more accessible, more inexpensive and easier to use, I think it’s something we will be adding to our prevention control measures,” Dr. Cervantes said.
Dr. Cervantes says this advance is an important one for slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it’s not a cure-all.
“We still have a longer road ahead of us in using those prevention measures,” she said. “Wearing a mask, keeping that physical distance, avoiding the crowds – that’s still going to be in place for some time to come.”
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