Getty At-home COVID-19 test
Americans wondering if they have COVID-19 or the flu will soon be able to take one at-home test to figure it out.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first at-home test that can detect COVID-19, influenza A and B and another common virus, RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus.
Typically, a person would need to go to the doctor to test for all three viruses at once, but this new test — from Labcorp — allows them to collect a nasal swab at home and then send it to the company for analysis. Results are typically ready one to two days after Labcorp receives the test sample.
"While the FDA has now authorized many COVID-19 tests without a prescription, this is the first test authorized for flu and RSV, along with COVID-19, where an individual can self-identify their need for a test, order it, collect their sample and send it to the lab for testing, without consulting a health care professional," Dr. Jeff Shuren, head of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a news release.
Much like the already-available at-home tests that detect COVID-19, Labcorp's test will be available online or at retail stores without a prescription.
The test, though, is pricier than ones that solely test for COVID-19. One test kit will cost $169, Labcorp told NBC News.
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But with three viruses diagnosed in one test, it can clear up whether someone has COVID-19, the flu or RSV; a common confusion over the last two and a half years of the pandemic due to the similar symptoms of the three viruses.
"This will enable consumers to more easily determine whether they may be infected with COVID-19, flu, or RSV, which can aid in determining if self-isolation (quarantine) is appropriate and to assist with health care decisions after discussion with a health care professional," the FDA said.