Understanding COVID-19 Home Test Expiration Dates & Extensions

At WeShield we want to emphasize the importance of using COVID-19 diagnostic tests within their authorized expiration dates. These dates are determined through rigorous scientific processes known as stability testing. This testing ensures that the tests remain accurate and reliable throughout their intended shelf-life.

There are two main types of stability testing:

  • Real-time stability testing: This gold standard methodology involves storing the tests for their proposed shelf-life (plus a buffer period) and periodically evaluating their performance. For example, a test intended for a 12-month shelf-life would be tested after 13 months to confirm its accuracy.
  • Accelerated stability testing: This method offers a faster estimation by storing the tests at elevated temperatures for a shorter period. While it provides valuable insights, it doesn't replace real-time data, particularly for longer shelf-lives.

Due to the time required for stability testing, the FDA initially authorizes at-home COVID-19 tests with a shelf-life of 4-6 months based on preliminary studies. This period can be extended as additional data becomes available. Manufacturers can request an extension from the FDA, and if granted, updated expiration dates are communicated to customers.

Here's how to ensure you're using a valid test:

  • Check the expiration date: This is printed on the test box and indicates the last day the test is guaranteed to be accurate. Don't use tests past their expiration date.
  • Refer to authorized lists: The FDA maintains a list of authorized at-home COVID-19 tests, including their expiration dates and any extensions. This resource can help you verify your test's validity.
  • Contact the manufacturer: If you have any doubts about your test's expiration date or its validity, contact the manufacturer directly for clarification.

Remember: Using expired tests can lead to inaccurate results, potentially jeopardizing your health and the health of others. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure accurate testing and contribute to effectively managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note: This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for specific guidance regarding COVID-19 testing and diagnosis.

Check our current expiration dates by test: