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

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

People who’ve Covid-19 signs ought to take at the least two exams, 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 suggestion for routine surveillance testing in most circumstances.

Many folks have reported that at-home exams failed to detect their infections, however research have usually proven that speedy antigen exams 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 exams. “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 exams, that are much less delicate than P.C.R. exams, are designed to be used serially, and that they’re most definitely 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 an announcement.

The new steering is predicated on the outcomes of a brand new nationwide research, which has not but been revealed in a scientific journal. The research, led by researchers on the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, centered on 154 individuals who examined constructive for the virus utilizing P.C.R. exams between October 2021 and February of this yr.

It discovered that amongst symptomatic folks, two exams 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 exams, every two days aside, the exams 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 creator of the research.

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

Those who take a look at constructive utilizing at-home exams, the company stated, ought to assume that they’re contaminated and comply with the rules set forth by the C.D.C.

The C.D.C. up to date its Covid-19 steering on Thursday however didn’t change its suggestion that individuals who take a look at constructive for the coronavirus isolate at residence for at the least 5 days.

People don’t want to use the identical model of take a look at 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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