Good Question: COVID tests and expiration dates

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – When do the at-home COVID test kits expire and lose their accuracy?

Here is News10NBC’s Brennan Somers with more: Don’t toss those expired COVID tests just yet!

"In fact you know, I’ll keep them for about a year depending on how scarce they are going to become," said Rochester Regional Health’s Dr. Emil Lesho.

Somers spoke to him after hearing from several of you who have been checking the dates on your at-home COVID test kits. You’re likely to see two on the box. The first is when the kit was assembled. The second is the original expiration date which is kind of a moving target.

That’s because some of these have actually been extended after companies learned more through research. They’ve shown federal health regulators they’re still good past what’s printed on the box.

Having said that, they won’t last forever.

Somers: what changes to make them less reliable on a scale that fades away?

Lesho: the chemicals on the strip. One of the chemicals is sort of a protein so that can degrade.

Of course, if you can find a test that’s not ‘expired’ that’s ideal. But a lot of us have many just sitting around the house because the demand isn’t that high right now.

So let’s say, you’re exposed and have symptoms. If you take an expired test and it comes back positive, Lesho says don’t question it.
If it’s negative?

Lesho: The further I get away from the expiration date, the more suspicious I have to be of a negative result.