Apr 22, 2020 - Health

FDA approves new at-home coronavirus test kits

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Wednesday that stay at-home coronavirus tests will help states increase their testing capabilities.

Why it matters: Increasing daily tests is a key requirement that states must reach before they can safely relax coronavirus lockdowns.

Driving the news: The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it granted emergency authorization for LabCorp's first at-home coronavirus test, CBS News reports.

  • The test is a nasal swab kit and will cost $119, though buyers must complete an eligibility survey before receiving one.
  • It will not be available in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Rhode Island because they have regulations against people initiating their own tests, according to CBS.

What they're saying: Hahn told CBS that health care workers and first responders will have first access to the test when it goes on sale.

  • Hahn added that the test is as effective as those administered in a doctor’s office.
  • "With this action, there is now a convenient and reliable option for patient sample collection from the comfort and safety of their home," he said in a statement.

The big picture: The United States had conducted more than 4 million tests as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • The country has tested an average of 146,000 people per day so far in April, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
  • Harvard University researchers suggest that the U.S. cannot reopen its economy unless it triples the number of daily tests, the New York Times reports.

Go deeper: Maryland to receive 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea

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