Being prepared is the best way to ease the stress of test taking. If you are having difficulty scheduling your Placement Test, please contact the UNG Testing Office.
Following University System of Georgia policy, UNG will use your Next Generation Accuplacer scores to determine placement into or out of Learning Support. Students who score below 243 on the reading test (scored on a 200-300 point scale) and/or below 4 on the WritePlacer (scored on a 0-8 point scale) will have a Learning Support English requirement at UNG. Students who score below 258 on the Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics (QRAS) test (scored on a 200-300 point scale) will have a Learning Support math requirement at UNG. Students scoring between 258 and 265 will have a Learning Support math requirement at UNG if their major requires College Algebra, MATH 1111, either as a core requirement or as a pre-requisite for a core math requirement. Your scores do not determine admissibility but, rather, determine placement. For more information about Learning Support you can read about it on the Learning Support Website.
If you have a red yes in any Placement Test Required row on your Check Application Status page in Banner, read the information below relating to the area in which you have the red yes.
Since you will be required in your WritePlacer Test to compose an actual timed essay, practice that skill on the free Longsdale Publishing Accuplacer practice site.
Click on the Register NEW Account button. Look on your Check Application Status page for the School Number and School Key. After you register, you will be issued a username and password. SAVE this information for future log-in access!
Scheduling information is located on the Math Eligibility Exams page.
American Liver Foundation: “Liver Function Tests.”
KidsHealth: “Blood Test: (Liver) Hepatic Function Panel.”
Mayo Clinic: “Cirrhosis,” “Hepatitis B,” “Liver Function Tests.”
Royal Society of Chemistry: “Enzymes.”
World Health Organization: “What Is Hepatitis?”
Lab Tests Online: “Liver Panel,” “Tips on Blood Testing.”
University of Rochester Medical Center: “D-Dimer.”
American College of Gastroenterology: "ACG Practice Guideline: Evaluation of Abnormal Liver Chemistries."
Cleveland Clinic: “Tests to Diagnose Gallstone Disease.”
In our second article in our three-part series about the power of proteomics in healthcare and precision medicine, we will discuss applications for proteomics, including diagnostic tests and treatment and prevention plans. Read the first article here for a deeper overview of proteomics.
At a glance, proteomics is the study of proteins, and it builds upon the power of genomics. Genes suggest risk for disease, but proteins define a patient’s current and future health reality. Diagnostic tests that use proteomics are valuable tools for the future of precision medicine.
Diagnostic tests that measure proteins can be executed using a draw of blood, urine or other bodily fluid. The trial is then used to detect and measure protein biomarkers for diseases and conditions. Proteomics allows us to identify biological insights that can’t be observed by traditional methods but that are relevant to disease prediction. We can associate these protein biomarkers with a person’s current or future health state and determine their risk for future severe health events.
Measuring proteins can Excellerate the accuracy of prognostic and diagnostic testing and can help uncover new treatment options for patients. With more than 20,000 proteins in the human body, there is an extensive range of applications for proteomic tests covering all aspects of human biology. Some of the most popular areas for proteomic tests are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney and liver disease, metabolic risk factors, inflammation and immune response.
Healthcare isn’t one-size-fits-all, and proteomic tests can enhance precision medicine delivered to patients. Thousands of proteins analyzed together paint a better picture of patient health than genes or single protein tests. Adverse reactions to drugs, health complications and comorbidities are determined by looking at proteins. Medications cause shifts in the proteome, and by measuring proteins we can understand whether existing treatments are adequately reducing the risk or if modifications are needed. Proteomic tests can also Excellerate medication adherence and inform interventions.
As we further adopt proteomic tests in precision medicine, the entire healthcare ecosystem stands to benefit. Thanks to proteomic tests:
SomaLogic offers SomaSignal® tests, enabled by the SomaScan® Assay, which can predict patient health risks and measure responses to treatment over time. SomaLogic has worked with leading academic institutions and biobanks to apply the SomaScan Platform to over 500,000 samples, assembling the world’s largest database of protein measurements and related clinical outcomes. SomaLogic uses sophisticated machine learning and bioinformatics to transform the collection of data into quantitative risk assessments and reliable physiological, lifestyle and disease insights for patients.
For example, SomaLogic offers the first clinically available proteomics tests for cardiovascular disease. In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, the SomaScan Platform was used to create and validate a 27-protein clinical test model that accurately predicts the four-year likelihood of myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke or death. SomaLogic’s cardiovascular risk portfolio contains multiple tests that can predict the likelihood of a cardiovascular event with 90% accuracy – higher than population-level retrospective data or existing risk score modeling. This test is important because more than 800,000 people in the United States die from CVD each year – that's one in every three deaths.
Stay tuned for more about cardiovascular disease and the power of proteomics for prediction, monitoring and prevention of this disease in our third article in this series. Learn more about proteomics and SomaLogic at somalogic.com/providers or by attending our upcoming webinar.
SomaSignal™ tests are developed and their performance characteristics determined by SomaLogic, Inc. They have neither been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. SomaLogic operates a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified, and College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited laboratory.
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Fictionary co-founder and CEO Kristina Stanley has worked in a wide variety of different jobs, from manager of broadband planning at Nortel to the director of employee, safety, and guest services for an Eastern British Columbia ski resort, to author of mystery novels.
But one of Stanley’s most difficult jobs was figuring out how to edit her own manuscripts while writing The Stone Mountain Mystery Series. As she told BetaKit in an interview, “it’s really, really difficult to edit a book from a story level. You’ve got thousands and thousands of elements that you have to keep track of and make them work together.”
“We’re trying to help the average person who doesn’t have an ‘in’ in the publishing industry get a really good book out there, get an agent, or get a publisher.”
-Kristina Stanley, Fictionary
Initially, Stanley tackled this problem using a combination of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and graphs. But she soon realized that other authors likely faced the exact same issue, and set out to build a better way by combining her tech and writing background.
Today, Stanley’s software startup Fictionary aims to offer an alternative. Amid a wide field of solutions that help writers and editors with specific parts of the process, like spelling, grammar, style, structure, and publishing, Fictionary hones in on perhaps the most important and challenging part: producing a good story.
Fuelled by $1.8 million CAD in seed funding, Fictionary aims to help writers and editors around the world produce quality stories more quickly and affordably. With this capital, the Inverary, Ontario startup, based just north of Kingston, plans to move into non-fiction and start selling to other publishers and agencies to expand its community of users.
The startup’s all-equity round, which closed in September, was co-led by StandUp Ventures and BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, with support from The51 and a group of angels that includes Women’s Equity Lab general partner Sally Morris. For newly launched Thrive, Fictionary marks the fund’s third investment to date, after investing in Acerta and Private AI.
Stanley founded Fictionary in 2016 alongside her husband, Mathew (COO), who also previously worked at Nortel and has a background in tech, and her brother, Michael Conn, Fictionary’s former CTO, who has since left the company.
Initially, Fictionary focused solely on writers, before expanding to meet demand for a similar offering from editors. Today, Fictionary offers three subscription software products for writers and editors that range in price from $19 to $49 monthly, sells online courses, and provides a community for writers and editors to connect.
Fictionary’s software helps writers visualize their story arc by analyzing key story elements with artificial intelligence (AI) and gauging how their manuscript compares to fundamental storytelling components.
RELATED: With new Thrive platform, BDC commits half a billion dollars to invest in Canadian women-led startups and funds
“We’re trying to help the average person who doesn’t have an ‘in’ in the publishing industry get a really good book out there, get an agent, or get a publisher,” said Stanley.
On the editor side of the equation, the company claims its offering enables editors to provide better, deeper story edits in less time, increasing the quality and profitability of editors’ services.
The writing and editing software space features a ton of players, from Grammarly to Scrivener, Novel Factory, and Canada’s Wattpad. According to Stanley, Fictionary is unique within the sectors in terms of its focus on storytelling elements and its use of AI. “We’re it right now as far as, there’s an automated way to do this, and have software for it,” said Stanley.
“While there are other platforms endeavoring to address this gap in the market, there doesn’t appear to be a single player who is able to look at the writing and editing process in a comprehensive and meaningful way, which puts Fictionary at a sizeable advantage to lead the charge and expand into new markets and segments,” Michelle Scarborough, managing partner of BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, told BetaKit.
RELATED: StandUp Ventures reveals second fund dedicated to women-led startups with $30 million first close
Fictionary previously secured $100,000 in grant funding from Creative BC and raised $245,000 in pre-seed funding in 2019 from a group of angels that included Shopify co-founder Scott Lake, Stephanie Andrew of Women’s Equity Lab, and FirstEditing founder and CEO JoEllen Taylor.
According to Stanley, following that pre-seed round, Fictionary reached breakeven cash flow and had to decide whether to keep going on its current track or set its sights higher.
Following some discussions with StandUp Ventures, Fictionary decided to embark on a new chapter and raise more venture capital to tackle the opportunity it sees in this space amid the rise of self-publishing. “We have a great product, we’ve got product-market fit, we’ve got a market, so let’s just go for it,” said Stanley.
“The love for the product Fictionary users articulate so regularly is rare, and indicative of the power and impact the tool brings to its customers,” said StandUp Ventures senior associate Lucas Perlman, who is joining Fictionary’s board as part of the round. “The self-publishing world has exploded, and we believe Fictionary is poised to become a de-facto part of the story writing toolkit for writers and editors around the globe.”
RELATED: Wattpad’s new leader is focused on creator value
For her part, Scarborough said the Thrive Venture Fund sees “a sizeable opportunity [for Fictionary] in the fast-growing creator economy space—a market with many dimensions—within writing and editing, screenwriting, non-fiction, and beyond.”
To date, Fictionary has focused entirely on fiction but Stanley said the startup’s roadmap includes moving into non-fiction, where the CEO sees plenty of potential to apply its tech to helping people tell their own life stories. Fictionary also sees an opportunity to help agencies and publishers clear the slush pile of submitted manuscripts.
As it looks to build out its own community of writers and editors, Fictionary follows in the footsteps of Wattpad, which parlayed its vibrant self-publishing community of writers and readers—and the content produced by them—into a $754 million CAD acquisition last year.
After discussions with StandUp, Fictionary decided to embark on a new chapter.
“Wattpad is very inspirational for us,” said Stanley. “They are different in the sense that people write their stories in the community, where we help writers take those stories and turn them into powerful stories readers love. Their community is a great lead-in to Fictionary for writers needing to edit their stories.”
As the startup charts its growth strategy amid an uncertain economic environment, Stanley is confident that Fictionary is well-positioned to grow during this period, noting that people tend to write more when they are stressed. Back when COVID-19 first hit and everyone was cooped up, the CEO said people begin writing more, and demand for Fictionary rose. Heading into what could be a deep downturn, Stanley believes Fictionary is in a good spot given that it offers a tool to help people do their passion without spending a lot of money.
What Perlman finds most exciting is the appreciation Fictionary’s customers have for the startup’s product, noting that writers “pour countless hours into their stories and writing books is an emotional and very personal thing to take on.”
“Fictionary has removed a major hurdle that stopped these creators from bringing their stories into the world,” Perlman told BetaKit. “The impact of that really comes through when you speak to their customers and see feedback from their community.”
Feature image courtesy Fictionary.
We’ve gotten to the point in the COVID-19 pandemic where you’re probably not stressed every single day about getting the virus—the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines and effective treatments have thankfully made that possible. And, with that, you likely have some tests around your place for the just-in-case that may have been sitting there for a while. Here’s the thing, though: They can expire. Yep, there is a COVID test expiration date printed on your package that you may not even realize is there.
Many COVID-19 tests last for just a year or so, but the odds are high that you’ll need to use your at some point. That may or may not be before the expiration date stamped on your package passes. So…do expired COVID tests work, or do you need to toss what you thought was a perfectly good test? It’s actually a little complicated. Here’s what you need to know.
Yes and no. To fully understand that, it’s important to explain how COVID-19 tests get an expiration date in the first place. “When tests are developed, the company will assess the test over time to make sure it’s performing with the quality standards intended,” says Thomas Russo, M.D., a professor and the chief of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo in New York. “Whatever time frame they assess it for is the expiration date that will go on that test.”
This “doesn’t necessarily mean that the test won’t perform for a longer period of time,” Dr. Russo says—it’s just the amount of time that the test has been assessed for and what is authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Older tests are more likely to have shorter expiration dates because there were time pressures to get tests out earlier in the pandemic, when they were first developed, and only so much time since they had been created to test how long they were good for, Dr. Russo says. “However, companies kept assessing the tests over time,” he says.
As a result, “many manufacturers have received shelf life extensions by the FDA,” says infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
The FDA has a list online of authorized home COVID-19 tests, along with links to “updated expiration dates” so you can check to see if your test’s expiration date has been extended.
“If you have a test and it’s ‘expired’ based on what the package says, it may or may not be the most correct expiration date,” Dr. Russo says.
Again, the expiration dates are a reflection of how long the company that manufactured the test found that it was good for—or the period of time in which they were able to assess the test. With that, there’s a chance that your test will still be good beyond the expiration date listed. “Most tests will still perform past their expiration date for several weeks,” Dr. Adalja says.
If the test has truly expired “you are more likely to get a false negative,” says Jamie Alan, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University. “The test might be negative because the reagents or ‘ingredients’ are past their shelf life and are not working as they should,” she explains. “They are likely good past their expiration date, although how long I cannot say with any degree of certainty.”
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and the only test you have at home is expired, Alan says you could try it. “If you get a positive, you are probably positive,” she says. “If you get a negative, it would be good to follow up with another test, either a PCR test or another rapid at-home test.”
COVID tests contain specific reagents (aka ingredients) that react with the virus, or lack thereof, from your swab, Alan explains. “These ingredients do not work forever,” she says. “This is true for medications, lab materials, and food.”
BinaxNOW is one of the most popular home tests out there, and it typically has an expiration date stamped on the back of the box. But, again, that may not be the most up-to-date expiration date for your test.
If you have a test with an expired date on the package, check out the FDA’s list of updated expiration dates for BinaxNOW tests to see if it’s been extended. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to have your box’s lot number handy.
But, if your test is expired—both on the box and per the FDA’s updated dating—and you want to be sure you’re getting an accurate reading, Dr. Russo says it’s “probably best to not use that test.”
This article is accurate as of press time. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus develops, some of the information may have changed since it was last updated. While we aim to keep all of our stories up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news. Always talk to your doctor for professional medical advice.
Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more. She has a master’s degree from American University, lives by the beach, and hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck one day.
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Few illnesses instill as much fear as Alzheimer's, a fatal neurodegenerative disease that destroys memory and identity. The dread is compounded by the uncertainty that often surrounds the diagnosis of the most common form of dementia.
Brain autopsies remain the only way to know for sure whether someone had the disease, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates affects 6.5 million people in the United States. Over the past several years, sophisticated tests such as spinal taps and specialized PET scans have become available - but they are invasive and costly and not routinely used.
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As a result, Alzheimer's is frequently misdiagnosed, especially in the early stages. Other illnesses, including depression, can have similar symptoms and require other treatments.
But simple blood tests designed to help doctors diagnose Alzheimer's now are on the market. More are on the way. The tests are seen as an important scientific advance, but have ignited debate about how and when they should be used.
Some experts say much more research is needed before the new tests can be widely deployed, especially in primary-care settings. Others say there already is sufficient information on the accuracy of some tests. All agree that no single test is perfect and physicians still should perform a complete clinical assessment.
Widespread use of the tests may be some time off in the future - after insurance coverage improves and even more accurate next-generation tests become available. For now, none is covered by Medicare, and private insurance coverage is patchy.
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How do Alzheimer's blood tests work?
In the past few years, scientific and technological advances have made it possible to detect in the blood tiny fragments of brain proteins implicated in Alzheimer's.
That has prompted experts in academia and industry to develop blood tests for the disease. Some of the tests detect a sticky protein called amyloid beta, while others look for another protein called tau. Some search for both or other markers of disease. The abnormal accretions of amyloid plaques and tau tangles are the defining characteristics of Alzheimer's.
So far, the tests have been used mostly in clinical trials, but a few are being sold on the commercial market. They are designed to complement doctors' assessments based on symptoms and other tests, not replace them.
If you have concerns about memory or reasoning issues, you should talk to your family and doctor. Just because the tests are available does not mean people should try to get them, experts say.
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Which tests are available? How much do they cost?
At least three tests - by C2N Diagnostics, Quest Diagnostics and Quanterix - are available in most states outside clinical trials.
Quest, which charges $500, said some health plans are paying for its test. C2N charges $1,250 and offers financial assistance for eligible patients. Quanterix declined to provide a price but said its test is much cheaper than amyloid PET scans, which can cost $5,000 or more. All the companies are working to secure broader insurance coverage.
Eli Lilly and Roche also have developed tests but for now are using them only in trials.
- - -
Who should get the tests?
There is a wide range of opinions on this.
Some experts say it is too early to use the tests in regular clinical care. Others say they can be used in memory centers with confirmatory tests such as PET scans or spinal taps. Some say the tests are a useful tool that can be used broadly once they are covered by insurance.
Still, many scientists agree on an important point: That the tests, which must be ordered by doctors, should be reserved for people with cognitive problems - persistent memory or logic issues, not just the occasional forgetfulness we all experience because of normal aging or stress.
Many researchers say it is too early to use the tests for people who do not have symptoms, because there isn't adequate research involving that group and the issue is rife with scientific uncertainty and ethical questions.
"The test results are intended to be used in adults presenting with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for [Alzheimer's disease] and must be interpreted in conjunction with other diagnostic tools," Quanterix said in a statement in July when it launched its test.
C2N uses a similar description, and company officials stress that their test is not designed for the "worried well" group of people.
Quest says its test is for people with or without symptoms. Quest relies on physicians "to use their own discretion when ordering tests," said spokeswoman Kimberly Gorode, adding that the test's "clinical utility will increase once there is an FDA-approved treatment for Alzheimer's disease."
- - -
Why would I want to know if I have Alzheimer's?
Some patients with cognitive issues take a fatalistic approach toward Alzheimer's, saying an exact diagnosis is not necessary because little can be done. Currently available treatments target symptoms and often are not effective. They do not change the course of the disease.
Alzheimer's treatments may be improving. Recently reported results showed that an experimental drug called lecanemab, by Japanese drugmaker Eisai and its U.S. partner, Biogen, worked to modestly slow Alzheimer's disease. It was the first therapy to do so in a well-run trial. The Food and Drug Administration could decide whether to approve the drug as soon as January.
Recently, in a sign of the roller-coaster nature of Alzheimer's, a drug by Roche failed in clinical trials. A medication by Eli Lilly is in late-stage testing.
If a new treatment is approved by the FDA and gains Medicare coverage, blood tests could play a key role in determining who might benefit. Doctors will want to make sure patients have amyloid in their brains before prescribing the medications.
Down the road, after more research is conducted, the blood tests might be used to alert people, even those without symptoms, that they have elevated amyloid and tau in their brains, putting them at risk for Alzheimer's. Patients could start a preventive therapy early, if one exists. Or they could pursue healthier lifestyles.
"Knowing your risk can be a hugely positive motivator," said Leslie M. Shaw, a pathologist and Alzheimer's researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. "Make the changes we now know are important. Instead of being a classic couch potato, get off your duff and get going."
Even if new treatments for Alzheimer's are not cleared, many experts say, it is important for patients to know their diagnoses so they can plan for the future. Trying to hide such a diagnosis is an echo of the 1960s, when people were not told they had cancer.
"If people are having cognitive symptoms, they deserve to know their diagnosis," said Howard Fillit, co-founder and chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps fund research into the disease. "If they test positive, they will get certainty. If they test negative, maybe they have depression or a different type of dementia that might be treated differently."
- - -
Do experts back use of the blood tests?
Many experts, even those enthusiastic about the tests, say that while they can be used carefully by specialists in memory centers, there should be more research before they are used in primary-care settings. Some specialists say they want more data on how the tests work for patients of different races, ethnic groups and genders.
"You want to know how the specific tests perform in different patients so you can really interpret them," said Matthew Schrag, a neurologist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
But other experts are eager to use the blood tests, saying they will help provide clarity to patients.
Demetrius M. Maraganore, chairman of the neurology department at Tulane University School of Medicine, who took part in a study sponsored by C2N, said he would start using that test immediately if it was covered by Medicare and insurance.
"The point is that patients seek an end to their diagnostic journey," Maraganore said. "This will help them to flip the page and start focusing on acceptance and getting the support they need."
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Do the tests have FDA approval?
Not at this point. Under the FDA's current policy, agency approval is not required for laboratory-developed tests - which are developed and processed by a single laboratory. The current tests are those types of tests. They are regulated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Still, some of the manufacturers are seeking the FDA's imprimatur, saying agency approval would assure health-care providers and insurers about the value of the tests.
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If you stocked up on at-home Covid-19 rapid antigen testing kits during one of the Omicron-variant surges, you could be in for a surprise when you bust them out for a pre-holiday test: an expiration date months in the past. According to the Food and Drug Administration, most at-home Covid-19 tests list an expiration date between four and six months from when they were manufactured.
Does that mean those expired tests no longer work? Here’s why the expiration date printed on the box isn’t as straightforward as you might expect.
The reason the answer to “when does my at-home Covid test expire?” isn’t as straightforward as, say, when the yogurt in your fridge expires has to do with the tests’ relative novelty. The tests have only been approved for two years, and crucially, the testing they underwent before hitting the market happened in just one year. If the FDA wanted to determine the maximum length of time the test was effective before putting it on the market, it would have had to delay those tests for years.
What it did instead is take a more conservative approach: authorizing a shelf-life of four to six months and then extending the expiration date as real-world data was compiled.
In an email, a spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health told Inverse that “since initial approval, most tests have had specific extensions issued by the FDA because test companies have presented information to the FDA showing the tests work well for a longer period of time.”
How can you tell if your test still works? In January of this year, the FDA released a list of updated expiration dates for different at-home rapid Covid-19 tests.
For example, BinaxNOW rapid Covid-19 tests manufactured by Abbott have been given an updated shelf life of 15 months, as have iHealth rapid tests. FlowFlex rapid tests manufactured by ACON Laboratories have been given a shelf life of 19 months. You can find a full chart of the FDA’s updated shelf-life and expiration dates for different rapid tests here.
California’s Department of Public Health has gone even further, authorizing the use of at-home rapid tests past the FDA’s extended expiration date. Their guidance now says you can use the tests as long as the control line is “both easily visible and the color specified by the specific test instructions” after the 15-minute test-development window. In other words, if you take an expired test and the control line shows up clearly, you can consider that result as valid as an at-home rapid test that isn’t expired.
A longer than initially anticipated shelf life of at-home Covid tests doesn’t mean your tests will necessarily last that long. Like medication, proper storage of Covid tests will prolong their shelf life.
If the test is exposed to very hot or cold temperatures, it will degrade faster than if it’s kept at more stable temperatures. According to the FDA, “test performance may be impacted if the test is used while it is still cold, such as being used outdoors in freezing temperatures or being used immediately after being brought inside from freezing temperatures, or in a hotter than expected environment, such as outside in the summer.”
To perform as expected, manufacturers assume the test is being performed in an environment that is roughly between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the test is delivered to you when it’s very hot or cold outside, the FDA advises bringing the test inside and leaving it at room temperature for at least two hours before using it.
If you’re not sure if the test is still good, the FDA suggests taking the test. “As long as the test line(s) appear as described in the instructions, you can be confident that the test is performing as it should. If the line(s) do not appear in the correct location(s) and within the correct time as shown in the test instructions when you perform the test, then the results may not be accurate, and a new test is needed to get an accurate result,” the FDA explains.
Nate Hafer is the director of operations for the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science and an assistant professor in molecular medicine at UMass Chan Medical School. He tells Inverse that the extended expiration dates make sense to him, especially in light of how the tests work.
After you swab your nostrils, you put the swab in a solution that breaks apart the trial so different proteins in the trial can be detected. In the case of rapid antigen tests, the protein they’re looking for is called the nucleocapsid protein, which is “one of the most abundant proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Hafer says.
Once the solution has broken apart the genetic material, you put a few drops of the solution on the test strip. The strip has been painted with antibodies that, if they come into contact with the nucleocapsid protein, will change color. As the solution moves down the paper, the control line will appear regardless of whether it detects the nucleocapsid protein or not.
The various substances used in the test are fairly stable, Hafer says, which is why the tests last past the expiration date if stored properly. If they are exposed to prolonged heat or cold, Hafer says both the solution and the antibodies on the test paper could degrade.
“I would guess that the antibodies on the strip of paper are one of the more sensitive things that could be damaged by extreme heat or cold, but the solution probably has some chemicals in it that could also be influenced by extreme temperatures,” he says.
So if you come across an expired at-home test, don’t immediately throw it away. Hang on to it and the next time you need to test, make sure the control line shows up as it should. If it does, go ahead and treat it like a non-expired test. If that line looks funky, head to the store for a new one.