One of my patients asked me this very question today! As it turns out, many COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits' expiration dates have been extended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this summer.
There are ways to find the revised expiration date. Please refer to this FDA website to check on expiration date extensions. NOTE: the most common test kits are listed below for your convenience, but the FDA website contains all manufacturers (over 25 authorized at-home COVID-19 test kits).
If your test kits are confirmed as expired, please dispose of them and obtain new test kits through your local health departments (which may be free), pharmacies or retail stores.
Regardless of expiration date, make sure the tests that you have are working properly by using the built-in quality control (QC) steps of your test kit, eg., a distinct visible "Control" line should always appear. If the QC is not intact, or the QC process fails, you should discard the entire box of tests.
Here are the most common rapid COVID-19 antigen test kits - you can look up the revised expiration date by lot number:
- iHealth Antigen Rapid Test
- ABBOTT BinaxNOW Ag Card Home Test or Antigen Self Test
- CareStart Antigen Home Test by AccessBio
For example, my iHealth rapid test kit showed an expiration date of 8/13/22. In July when the FDA granted another shelf-life extension, I checked my lot number on the manufacturer's website and the new expiration date is 2/13/23. So, don't throw away your COVID-19 at-home test kits before checking the revised expiration date online!