When Do PCR Tests Expire?
Today, you can do lateral or PCR tests in the comfort of your home to check if you have COVID. Buying these test kits has never been easier, and the testing process is pretty straightforward and easy to do at home. PCR tests tend to be preferred as they offer more accurate results. The only catch is that the results take longer to show.
Do Covid PCR Tests Expire?
If you’ve stocked several home PCR tests, you probably want to know how long you have before their shelf life ends. So, do home PCR tests expire? Yes, they do. Their shelf-life is much shorter than that of lateral flow tests.
The Food and Drug Administration stated that while rushing to make the test available to the public, they made it usable for up to 6 months from the manufacture. Read on as we explain more about how to check the expiry date before buying lateral flow tests and when to tell if the test is no longer reliable for use.
What Is the Average Expiration Date of PCR Tests?
Most COVID tests are usable for five to six months, depending on the expiration date on the box or an extension provided by the FDA. Once the FDA offers an extension of the expiration dates, people can use their kits even if it is beyond the date they have provided. These extensions can sometimes be confusing and may leave some people wondering if COVID PCR tests truly expire. If you are unsure about the kit box you have and it is past its expiration date, you can look it up on the FDA website.
Where to Look for an Expiration Date of the Test?
Expiration dates are on the kit box themselves. The Healgen antigen test kit and the FlowFlex rapid test have them on the boxes' underside or side. For most of the brands out there, it should be easy to find the dates. If the PCR test you have has an extended date, you can look it up on the FDA website. If you don't see it on their website, and the expiration date on the box has passed, don't use the PCR test.
Why Is Using Expired PCR Tests Dangerous?
The expiration date is the date beyond which using the product is not considered effective if you want accurate results. If the FDA provides no extension date, then using PCR tests will be categorised as void.
According to NHS England, there are a large number of PCR tests that are returned for analysis while being past their expiration date. Expiry dates are essential to ensure that the tests are valid, and it minimises the chances of inaccurate results.
When the expiration date passes, there is a high chance that the equipment in the test kit has degraded or broken down. Thus, you cannot rely on the results you will get.
In conclusion, do PCR tests expire? Just like any other products, yes, they do. It is critical to always look for the expiration date on medical kits, as you would always want accurate results. For PCR tests, some kits are usable after the expiration date has passed, but not all of them. You can check for your specific brand on the FDA website to see if its shelf life has been extended. If you don't find the brand you have on that website, don't use the product if it has expired.