Many of the test kits sent out for free by the government early on had expiration dates of about six months after they were delivered.
However, those expiration dates may not be an indication that you need to throw the kit away. Depending on the brand, your test kit may still be good to use after its expiration date.
While the FDA certifies that home test kits are good for between four to six months, makers have been doing their own research, and new data indicates some brands will be accurate for longer than originally believed.
If the test kit maker can prove to the FDA the shelf life is good beyond the original expiration date, the agency can authorize an extended shelf life.
You can determine if your test kit is still effective beyond the original expiration date by checking the FDA’s list of tests with longer shelf lives. The FDA also includes how long the tests have been extended.
So far, it’s approved 22 brands. If your test kit is not on the list, you should adhere to the expiration date on the test’s packaging.
The FDA warns using an expired kit can create problems because most likely its components have degraded and you won’t get accurate results.
Three rounds of free COVID tests have been made available to Americans. If you haven’t already, you can request your tests at COVIDtests.gov.