At-home COVID test listed as expired may have an extended shelf-life

“this is going to vary by brand..”
In fact, some of the at home COVID tests sitting in your cabinet have expired according to the date listed, but there’s a chance they’re still good.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We know thousands of people took advantage of the government’s rollout of free at home tests months ago.

Some of us might not know those tests have an expiration date, and that expiration date has either passed or is fast approaching.

In fact, some of the at-home COVID tests sitting in your cabinet have expired according to the date listed, but there’s a chance they’re still good.

So, before the time comes when you need to swab yourself for COVID, check to see if your tests have expired or have an extended shelf-life by the FDA.

Dr. Raynard Washington, the Public Health Director for Mecklenburg County said, “this is going to vary by brand, but that information is still going to be any amendments to the shelf life of those individual test products is going to be connected to the lot number on the test, every test has a lot number attached to it.”

The FDA extended the shelf-life of some products after the manufacturer provided data showing that the shelf-life is longer than what was known when the test was first authorized. This applies to tests sent by the government and those bought in the store.

“Go to the FDA website or go to the manufacturers’ website, make sure you have an authority backing you buying a COVID test kit that’s beyond the shelf date,” said Dr. Michael Ilodigwe, the owner of Doc’s Pharmacy.

Roche, one of the manufacturers for the test kits sent to me earlier this year said the shelf life of their product was extended an additional three months by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on June 24, 2022, to a total of nine months from the manufactured date.

A quick search on iHealth’s website shows the FDA extended its shelf-life by 6-months. At-home tests made by iHealth were also sent out to people earlier this year by the U.S. government.

“If you cannot find evidence the expiration date has been extended and you are not able to call us to help verify whether it’s been extended or not, I would advise not use the product,” said Dr. Washington.

At Doc’s Pharmacy, the at-home tests are not expired yet. The at-home test manufactured by Acon Laboratories and labeled “Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test” were extended by the FDA as well. Instead of expiring in November of 2022, the shelf life was extended by 4-months to March of 2023.

“Now that we have that extension, we have to authority to back selling it or using it beyond the shelf-life data as printed on the box,” Dr. Ilodigwe.

If people find their at-home COVID tests are expired or can’t find proof the shelf life has been extended, toss them and reach out to the county for more. Mecklenburg County Health Departments said it has a decent supply of the at-home test kits available to people.

You can also order at-home COVID tests from North Carolina Department of Heath and Human Services.