Maria Lograsso is a mother and a Detroit Public School teacher, who was hoping to have COVID tests on hand at home when the school year started. But each trip to the store was met with empty shelves and no tests in sight.
“I wasn’t able to find any through pretty much all of August,” Lograsso said. "I really wanted to be able to just late at night, take the test at home and I wasn't able to find a test in any drug store at all.”
The at-home tests have been in short supply across the country, with some pharmacies like CVS implementing purchase limits.
The White House COVID task force says they’ve been working on solutions, and are now investing $2 Billion to help increase supply.
"These are clearly convenient and have become very popular and are in very high demand,” said White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients. "Overall, we'll continue to pull every lever we can to further expand the manufacturing and the production of these tests in order to make them more widely available and to drive down the cost per test."
The most recent announcement came from the FDA, which on Monday gave emergency use authorization to another at-home test called FlowFlex from ACON Laboratories. The FDA says this authorization will double the nation's supply of at-home tests, in the coming weeks.
“Access to testing is incredibly important,” said Dr. Matthew Sims, Director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Health. “If you're feeling sick and coughing and all of that and want to confirm it’s COVID, they (at home tests) probably work fairly well. They’re still not perfect.”
Dr. Sims says the at-home tests have limitations and are not as sensitive as PCR tests.
The company behind FlowFlex says the test is 99.3% accurate. Now with another test on the market, Maria hopes her next trip to the pharmacy won’t end empty-handed.
"I know they’re not as accurate as going to the doctor and getting one, but when you’re in a pinch late at night, you need to know if you’re able to go back to work the next day or not,” Lograsso said.
The FDA says the manufacturer of FlowFlex plans to produce more than one million tests per month, increasing that number to 200 million by next February.