JEFF CAPLAN

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The complicated tale of COVID-19 test kits

May 5, 2022, 4:00 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 12:37 pm
COVID-19 testing kits...
FILE - Health Department worker holds two at-home COVID-19 test kits.

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is seeing another Omicron sub-variant resulting in a mini-spike in COVID-19 cases. The outbreak is worst in the east right now, however, it’s heading west. Of course, with most using COVID-19 test kits in the privacy of their homes these days, it’s hard to know for sure. 

I know what you’re saying: why does he have to talk about COVID-19? 

Here’s the data I actually have: 13 people I know in Utah got COVID-19 last week. Some were pretty sick; others not so much. They all took home COVID-19 tests.

Maybe you have a few in the house. But here’s a question: Do they expire? Do home test kits have a shelf life?

Don’t go looking at the back of the box for answers. Like everything else with COVID-19, the answer is complicated.

Looking at the Abbott Labs Binax Now COVID-19 test, there’s a complicated sticker on the back that’s filled with more numbers than a tenth-grade math test. I’m guessing from the numbers, that this test kit was created on November eleventh of last year. It looks like the expiration date was May second of this year. I assume the test kit is no good. Expired.

As it turns out, the FDA let companies stamp the expiration date on the boxes even though they still have no idea how long these kits last.  My Binax test has a six-month shelf life.  But even though the expiration date is right there on the box, it’s just a guess.

Expiration dates are changed as they gather more data. For instance, the Binax test I’m holding: it expired two days ago but digging on the web, I discovered the FDA extended it for another nine months. So it’s still good even though the box says it’s bad. How would you know that you’re supposed to go to FDA.gov?

Like everything with COVID-19, these tests — are complicated.

 

Other Minutes of News:

Listen to Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News every weekday from 3 to 7 p.m. for more of his “My Minute of News.” And check out the podcast below.

Today’s Top Stories

Jeff Caplan

Personal assistant for the wealthy....
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Needed, personal assistant for the rich

A personal assistant for the rich must be flexible, and available. They'll be writing a proposal one minute, and stocking the pantry the next.
22 hours ago
students stand on one leg during a yoga class for stress relief...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan: How to predict if you’re going to die

A new test could tell you about your life expectancy. If you're over 50 years old, you'll want to try it. All you need is your leg.
2 months ago
beat inflation...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan: How to beat inflation — potty train your cat (seriously)

Everyone's minds are on how to best beat inflation. And if you're trying to be super frugal, there's a good chance you can.
2 months ago
Utah spelling...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Utah’s most misspelled word

A Google trends review shows Utah's most misspelled word is a lot tougher than most states. Especially Texas.
2 months ago
mona lisa exhibit after the cake was thrown...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Pie in the face

A protester smeared the Mona Lisa with cake in protest of climate change last week. Another page in the Mona Lisa's interesting story.
2 months ago
Walmart profits...
Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: As Walmart profits go down, so do ours

We're still buying stuff from Walmart, just not the name brands. And that's squeezing Walmart profits, which squeezes our 401K.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The complicated tale of COVID-19 test kits