Flu and Covid-19 have similar symptoms, which can make it hard to know which illness it is. But, the FDA has now approved an at-home test that can screen for both.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer the main focus, the CDC reported more than 236,000 cases of the virus last week. The agency has also reported that over the winter months, there were between 25 million and 49 million cases of influenza.
A lot of the symptoms overlap, with both viruses causing a fever, cough, headache, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, sore throat, and vomiting.
Now, if you have these symptoms, the Lucira COVID-19 & Flu Test is a single-use at-home test kit that can give a result in around 30 minutes by taking a nasal swab sample. The test kits have been given an emergency use authorisation by the FDA and are available over the counter.
In a statement, Dr Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health said: “Today’s authorization of the first OTC test that can detect Influenza A and B, along with SARS-CoV-2, is a major milestone in bringing greater consumer access to diagnostic tests that can be performed entirely at home.
We remain committed to working with test developers to support the shared goal of getting more accurate and reliable tests to Americans who need them.”
The test is available for purchase without a prescription and is suitable for adults and children with early signs of flu or Covid-19. Although these symptoms can also be caused by other viruses like the common cold, the new test can rule out both Covid-19 and influenza A and B.
After taking a swab sample, the test displays a negative or positive result for each virus, and the FDA has asked that these results are then reported to a healthcare provider.