Jun 3, 2020 - Health

Concerns about at-home coronavirus testing

A registered nurse puts a nasal swab into a tube held by another nurse, both wearing gloves and protective gowns
Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The latest wave of coronavirus testing concerns has arrived, this time about new at-home tests that are hitting the market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: Experts are worried about the accuracy of the tests and about limitations on who can access them.

The big picture: The Food and Drug Administration has so far given emergency authorization to six at-home collection kits, which still must be sent to a lab.

  • These tests, in theory, expand testing access to people who can't easily leave their homes and to those who would be at-risk in a doctor's office around other patients. They also add to the total number of available tests.
  • They're appealing to employers who want to test their workers and universities that want to test faculty and students.

Yes, but: The tests aren't foolproof, and can produce varying rates of false negatives depending on where the sample is collected from.

  • They are also dependent on lab capacity to process them.
  • And for some people, the tests' price tag could be prohibitive if it isn't fully covered by insurance or if they're uninsured.

Go deeper: Many Americans live in places with no coronavirus test sites

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