The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized several diagnostic COVID-19 tests for use with at-home collection of samples from the nose or saliva, that can then be sent to a lab for processing and reporting. However, there are no serology tests that are authorized for use with at-home collection of samples.
Antibody tests, also called serological tests, detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (originally called 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019 nCoV), which can help identify individuals who have developed an adaptive immune response to the virus, as part of either an active infection or a prior infection.
In vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices are tests performed on samples taken from the human body, such as swabs of mucus from inside the nose or back of the throat, or blood taken from a vein or fingerstick. IVDs can detect diseases or other conditions and can be used to monitor a person’s overall health to help cure, treat, or prevent diseases. There are several types of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 related IVDs:
- Diagnostic Tests: detect parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can be used to diagnose infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These include molecular tests and antigen tests
- Serology or Antibody Tests: detect antibodies (IgM, IgG) to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They cannot be used to diagnose a current infection
- Tests for Management of COVID-19 Patients: beyond tests that diagnose or detect SARS-CoV-2 virus or antibodies, there are also tests that are authorized for use in the management of patients with COVID-19, such as to detect biomarkers related to inflammation. Once patients are diagnosed with COVID-19 disease, these additional tests can be used to inform patient management decisions
The assays are intended for use by qualified laboratory personnel specifically instructed and trained in the techniques of real-time PCR and in vitro diagnostic products. They are only for use under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) .