The Best Inventions of 2021
November 10, 2021 6:08 AM EST

At-home rapid tests turn the question of if you have COVID-19 into a yes-no exercise, similar to a pregnancy test. The FDA has authorized several over-the-counter, DIY tests—made by Abbott, Ellume and ACON, among others—that are about 90% reliable in picking up SARS-CoV-2 proteins. At-home versions don’t replace the gold-standard PCR tests (Ellume recalled some kits over false positives, working to resolve a manufacturing issue), but they can serve as a front line of defense in identifying those who might be infected and keeping them from spreading the virus further. That’s why the Biden Administration pledged $3 billion to increase availability of rapid testing for Americans, as well as at community health centers, schools and food banks, and is supporting retailers like Walmart and Amazon so they can provide the tests at cost for the next three months. —Alice Park

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