FDA Coronavirus Q&As for Consumers

The FDA is working to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and keep you and your family informed on the latest developments. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions from consumers about testing and treatments:

Q: How are people tested for COVID-19?

A: To be tested for COVID-19, a sample is typically collected from your nose and/or throat with a special swab at a designated collection location staffed by health care professionals. Currently, a health care professional swabbing the back of the nasal cavity through the nostril is the preferred choice. Alternatively, the health care professional could swab the back of your throat. Or for patients with symptoms of COVID-19, the sample could be collected by swabbing the inside of the front of the nose. Depending on, among other things, the type of swab used, a health care professional may collect the sample, or you may be able to collect the sample yourself at the collection site under the supervision of health care personnel.

Q: Are there any tests that I can purchase to test myself at home for COVID-19?

A: At this time, the FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing yourself at home for COVID-19. The FDA sees the public health value in expanding the availability of COVID-19 testing through safe and accurate tests that may include home collection, and we are actively working with test developers on this goal. You can find listings of tests that have received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as well as labs and manufacturers that have notified FDA as set forth in the FDA’s Policy for Diagnostic Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019.

Q: Should I take hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19 without a prescription?

A: No. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are available in the United States by prescription only for the prevention or treatment of malaria and certain inflammatory conditions such as lupus. The FDA is working closely with other government agencies and academic centers to determine whether chloroquine can be used to prevent COVID-19 or treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. More information about the clinical trials studying these medicines can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.

To learn more about these and other coronavirus topics, visit: Frequently Asked Questions

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