People Exposed to Coronavirus May Need to Take as Many as Three At-Home Tests, F.D.A. Says

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a new recommendation on Thursday that asymptomatic people who find themselves utilizing coronavirus antigen assessments take a minimum of three assessments, every spaced 48 hours aside, to scale back the chances of lacking an an infection.

People who’ve Covid-19 signs ought to take a minimum of two assessments, 48 hours aside, in accordance to the company.

The new tips come as the extremely transmissible BA.5 subvariant of Omicron continues to unfold, and after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its advice for routine surveillance testing in most circumstances.

Many folks have reported that at-home assessments failed to detect their infections, however research have typically proven that speedy antigen assessments are as good at detecting Omicron as they have been at detecting Delta, the earlier variant of concern.

The new suggestions are “very grounded in science,” stated Dr. Michael Mina, a former Harvard epidemiologist who’s now the chief science officer for eMed, which sells at-home assessments. “Sometimes it takes the virus two days to grow to a detectable level and sometimes it takes six days to grow.”

Experts have lengthy famous that speedy antigen assessments, that are much less delicate than P.C.R. assessments, are designed to be used serially, and that they’re most certainly to detect the coronavirus when folks take them repeatedly over the course of a number of days.

The new suggestions emphasize the necessity for “additional testing over a longer period of time,” the company stated.

“The F.D.A.’s new recommendations for at-home Covid-19 antigen tests underscore the importance of repeat testing after a negative test result in order to increase the chances of detecting an infection,” Dr. Jeff Shuren, the director of the company’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, stated in a press release.

The new steerage relies on the outcomes of a new national study, which has not but been revealed in a scientific journal. The research, led by researchers on the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, targeted on 154 individuals who examined constructive for the virus utilizing P.C.R. assessments between October 2021 and February of this year.

It discovered that amongst symptomatic folks, two assessments taken 48 hours aside detected 93 p.c of infections. But the identical testing sample detected simply 63 p.c of infections in asymptomatic folks.

When folks with out signs took three assessments, every two days aside, the assessments caught 79 p.c of infections.

“We provide data-based evidence on how to test when using rapid antigen tests,” stated Dr. Apurv Soni, an assistant professor at UMass Chan Medical School, who led the analysis. “The schedule of testing is important.”

Some folks enrolled within the research had Delta infections, whereas others have been contaminated with Omicron, the researchers stated.

“The fact that the tests can detect Omicron is an important point that cannot be emphasized enough,” stated Nathaniel Hafer, a molecular biologist at UMass Chan Medical School and an writer of the research.

People who’re fearful that they might be contaminated even after receiving two or three unfavorable outcomes on at-home antigen assessments can proceed to check themselves, search out a extra delicate P.C.R. check or seek the advice of with a health care provider, the F.D.A. stated.

Those who check constructive utilizing at-home assessments, the company stated, ought to assume that they’re contaminated and observe the rules set forth by the C.D.C.

The C.D.C. up to date its Covid-19 steerage on Thursday however didn’t change its advice that individuals who check constructive for the coronavirus isolate at house for a minimum of 5 days.

People don’t want to use the identical model of check every time, the F.D.A. stated.

“If you plan to use at-home COVID-19 antigen tests, have several tests on hand so you can test more than once,” the company stated.

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