BinaxNow is a brand of popular COVID-19 rapid antigen tests available in the United States. The BinaxNow rapid antigen tests are made by Abbott.
The BinaxNow is what's called a "lateral flow" style test. The person testing themselves pours some solution into the test card, swabs themselves, and then places the swab into the card. The test is called an "antigen test" because it detects one of the proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) virus. For instructions, see Abbott's guide to the BinaxNow.
The BinaxNow tests are able to detect COVID-19 variants like Omicron. This is because the BinaxNow test detects a part of the virus that has not changed much between Omicron and previous variants (called the nucleocapsid protein).
BinaxNow were one of the first COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to be given emergency use authorization for home use by the FDA.
In June of 2021, Abbott reportedly destroyed 8.6 million BinaxNow test kits. When COVID-19 cases spiked weeks later, Abbott's decision to cull inventory came under fire.
BinaxNow received an emergency use authorization from the FDA on Aug. 26, 2020. The BinaxNow was later granted emergency use authorization for home use on Dec. 16, 2020 with a prescription. On Nov. 8, 2021, BinaxNow was authorized for home use without a prescription.
How to use the BinaxNow
"A step-by-step video guide to conducting a BinaxNOW Self Test in the comfort of your own home." - from Abbott, how to use the BinaxNow.
Abbott conducted testing and showed that the BinaxNow tests have a shelf life of at least 15 months - longer than the expiration date printed on the package. The FDA has said that BinaxNow are good for at least 3 months past the expiration date printed on the box. See this list of specific dates, box #, and new expiration dates.