Why an at-home test for multiple viruses can wait!

Swabbing ourselves has become common. At home, Covid-19 tests were made so convenient that people could stay home and find out if they were positive in a matter of 15 minutes. Having that convenience of being able to do the same with other contagious illnesses such as the flu and RSV would be extremely beneficial in catching these viruses early on. 

Fortunately, in Europe, they have made available a rapid at-home test that can help determine if someone is positive for the flu, RSV, or Covid-19. Since these viruses all share very similar symptoms, it can be difficult to know which someone is suffering from, and being able to take a single test to determine that is what Doctors believe most – if not all – testing will eventually look like in the future. 

A common question people in the United States have is why this at-home test hasn’t been made available here. RSV and the flu viruses usually require the swab to go higher up in the nose, which the FDA believes will cause inaccurate test results if people don’t use them correctly. This has caused the FDA to not approve the test in the US yet, as processes to get drugs and treatments approved in the United States and in Europe are very different. 

Doctors think that these tests won’t be available to us for a long time, but if they do, they may look a little different. With a cause for concern over the accuracy of a combined test, an option that has been presented is a separated at-home test kit for each virus – if and when it becomes available in the US.

Although being able to test at home is convenient, it is important that people and medical institutions can trust their results before they come to the market. Especially at RCR, when so many different studies specifically target these viruses individually, accuracy is valued so highly and applied with the greatest care when dealing with the distinctions between these illnesses.

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