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People Exposed to Covid May Need to Take as Many as Three At-Home Tests, F.D.A. Says

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration issued a brand new suggestion on Thursday that asymptomatic people who find themselves utilizing at-home Covid-19 antigen exams take no less than three exams, every spaced 48 hours aside, to scale back the chances of lacking an an infection.

Individuals who have Covid-19 signs ought to take no less than two exams, 48 hours aside, in response to the company.

The brand new pointers come because the extremely transmissible BA.5 subvariant of Omicron continues to unfold, and after the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention eased its suggestion for routine surveillance testing in most circumstances.

Many individuals have reported that at-home exams did not detect their infections, however research have typically proven that fast antigen exams are pretty much as good at detecting Omicron as they had been at detecting Delta, the earlier variant of concern.

Specialists have lengthy famous that fast antigen exams, that are much less delicate than P.C.R. exams, are designed to be use serially, and that they’re most certainly to detect the coronavirus when individuals take them repeatedly over the course of a number of days.

However the brand new suggestions emphasize the necessity for “further testing over an extended time period,” the company stated.

“The F.D.A.’s new suggestions for at-home Covid-19 antigen exams underscore the significance of repeat testing after a unfavorable take a look at end result in an effort to improve the probabilities of detecting an an infection,” Dr. Jeff Shuren, the director of the company’s Heart for Units and Radiological Well being, stated in an announcement.

The brand new steerage is predicated on the outcomes of a brand new nationwide examine, which has not but been printed in a scientific journal. The examine, led by researchers on the College of Massachusetts Chan Medical Faculty, centered on 154 individuals who examined optimistic for the virus utilizing P.C.R. exams between October 2021 and February of this 12 months.

It discovered that amongst symptomatic individuals, two exams taken 48 hours aside detected 93 p.c of infections. However the identical testing sample detected simply 63 p.c of infections in asymptomatic individuals.

When individuals with out signs took three exams, every two days aside, the exams caught 79 p.c of infections.

The outcomes counsel that “serial testing with antigen exams stays a helpful approach to detect an infection,” Nathaniel Hafer, a molecular biologist at UMass Chan Medical Faculty and an writer of the examine, stated in an announcement.

People who find themselves nervous that they could be contaminated even after receiving two or three unfavorable outcomes on at-home antigen exams can proceed to check themselves, hunt down a extra delicate P.C.R. take a look at or seek the advice of with a health care provider, the F.D.A. stated.

Those that take a look at optimistic utilizing at-home exams, the company stated, ought to assume that they’re contaminated and comply with the rules set forth by the C.D.C.

The C.D.C. up to date its Covid-19 steerage on Thursday however didn’t change its suggestion that individuals who take a look at optimistic for the coronavirus isolate at house for no less than 5 days.

Individuals don’t want to make use of the identical model of take a look at every time, the F.D.A. stated.

“If you happen to plan to make use of at-home COVID-19 antigen exams, have a number of exams available so you may take a look at greater than as soon as,” the company stated.

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