CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — With the delta variant surging and coronavirus cases rising across the country, more people are considering at-home COVID-19 tests to find out if they've been infected.
These kits are affordable and some people feel more comfortable than visiting a clinic to be tested. But how accurate are they, and can someone rely on those test results to know if they're positive for COVID-19?
Are at-home COVID-19 tests a reliable way to determine whether you've been infected?
- Dr. Karla Robinson, Family Physician
- Abbot BinaxNow
- Ellume Covid-19 Home Test
- Quidel QuickVue
Yes, at-home COVID-19 tests are reliable to determine whether you've been infected. However, Robinson said the result itself isn't the end game, and people should always speak with a health care provider after getting their results back.
WHAT WE FOUND
All three at-home tests have received emergency use authorization from the FDA, meaning they are not fully approved yet. All of them are nasal swabs with test results in 10 to 15 minutes.
Clinical studies for Abbot BinaxNow show that the test is about 84 % accurate at detecting positive cases and 98% accurate at detecting negative cases.
Meanwhile, clinical studies for Ellume COVID-19 home test showed 96% accuracy for those who had symptoms and 91% accuracy for people who did not have symptoms.
Finally, Quidel QuickVue touts an 83% accuracy for detecting positive cases and 99% accuracy detecting negative cases according to a clinical study.
"The best person to use this type of test is someone who is symptomatic, those who are asymptomatic or may be exposed there may be a lot of variabilities there," Robinson said.
Robinson said these tests are fairly accurate. However, the most reliable test is a PCR test administered by a medical professional where the swabs are sent to a lab for analysis.
"PCR is the gold standard type of test that we have for COVID-19 and the most reliable and the one that we use most in hospital and clinic settings," Robinson said.
Either way, Robinson says it's best to speak with your doctor after receiving the results. These at-home tests range from $20 to $40. According to Robinson, the best way to get an answer you can count on is to go to your doctor.
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