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FDA allows use of over-the-counter home test for COVID-19

This undated photo provided by Ellume shows a self-administered rapid coronavirus at home test kit developed by Australian manufacturer Ellume. U.S. regulators on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, allowed emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that consumers can buy without a prescription to test themselves entirely at home. (Ellume via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first home test for COVID-19 that doesn’t require a prescription will soon be on U.S. store shelves.

U.S. officials Tuesday authorized the rapid coronavirus test which can be done entirely at home. The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration represents another important — though incremental — step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options.

The agency’s action allows the test to be sold in places like drugstores “where a patient can buy it, swab their nose, run the test and find out their results in as little as 20 minutes,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, in a statement.

Regulators granted emergency use for a similar test last month, but that one requires a doctor’s prescription.

Initial supplies of the over-the-counter test will be limited. Australian manufacturer Ellume said it expects to produce 3 million tests next month before ramping up production over the first half of 2021.

A company spokesperson said the test will be priced around $30 and be available at pharmacies and online. The test connects to a digital app to help users interpret the results.

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