Cue Health Inc. became the first company to offer COVID-19 molecular testing for home use without a prescription following U.S. FDA emergency use authorization on March 5, 2021. The San Diego-based company’s isothermal nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) detects RNA from SARS-CoV-2 virus present in the nostrils. “The FDA continues to prioritize the availability of more at-home testing options in response to the pandemic,” said Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Cue COVID-19 Test for Home and Over-the-Counter (OTC) Use provides access to accurate and reliable testing at-home, without a prescription.”
Non-clinical testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been a major goal for regulators across the globe for months. Emergency use authorization (EUA) was just granted by the FDA is for the Quidel Quickvue COVID-19 test, an at-home antigen test with a turnaround time of 10 minutes. It’s the latest in a series of approvals of home tests and collection kits that promises to help control the pandemic.
The U.S FDA’s response to the pandemic has been all-consuming, but epidemiologist Michael Mina of Harvard blasted the agency’s handling of rapid testing. Mina said the agency is in possession of emergency use authorization filings for rapid antigen tests that should be acceptable, but that the FDA is “the only bottleneck” in the rapid antigen testing pipeline.
The Biden administration said it will use the U.S. Defense Production Act to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic in a plan that includes a large increase in vaccine purchases. Also on tap is an increase in production of at-home test by six companies in addition to Ellume Ltd., of Perth, Australia, which will ship more than 8 million of their tests to the U.S. by the end of the year.
In what U.S. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn billed as “a major milestone” in testing for the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Ellume Ltd., of East Brisbane, Australia, for the company’s COVID-19 home test. The rapid lateral-flow test for antigen detection can be obtained without prescription and will return results to the at-home user in 20 minutes, according to the FDA’s Dec. 15 statement.
Lucira Health Inc. has secured U.S. FDA emergency use authorization for the first prescription molecular diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can be performed from start to finish in the convenience of one’s home. The single-use, COVID-19 All-in-One Test Kit employs a simple ‘swab, stir and detect’ design that yields results within 30 minutes – enabling individuals who expect they have the virus to get results while isolating at home.
The diagnostic industry in the U.S. and elsewhere has scrambled to keep up with the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the key developments will be a test that can be used at home without medical supervision. However, Tim Stenzel, director of the U.S. FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, said on the Sept. 16 diagnostic town hall that the agency is keen on authorizing such a test, but has yet to receive any emergency use authorization filings. “We want to see a home test submission, and we’re willing to be very flexible here,” Stenzel said.
The need for self-administered surveillance testing finally has a few candidates, thanks to labs and test developers across the globe, and the U.S. FDA is keen on exploiting the opening. Tim Stenzel, director of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, said on the agency’s Sept. 2 testing town hall that the agency is interested in a test intended to be self-administered multiple times compared to a test validated under a single test approach, a flexibility that may prove critical in advancing the U.S. approach to testing for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. FDA has nudged the emergency use authorization (EUA) program forward once again, this time with a template for applications for tests that can be performed entirely at home, in the office and at schools. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in an accompanying statement that tests of this sort “will be a game-changer in our fight against COVID-19 and will be crucial as the nation looks toward reopening.”
The U.S. FDA detailed which kinds of SARS-CoV-2 tests are getting top priority, with access to rolling, rapid reviews for emergency use authorization (EUA) during the unfolding pandemic. The agency is aiming to authorize point-of-care and at-home tests to better distribute the use of testing in various locations. It also is looking at automated and high-throughput tests that can offer analysis of larger batches of tests at one time.