The Philadelphia Health Department has issued a warning that a batch of at-home COVID-19 test kits labeled as Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Tests is invalid. The department discovered this during a routine inventory check when an unknown lot number was identified. The FDA has a database of authorized at-home tests, and the unknown lot number was not found in the database. A total of 105,000 kits were declared invalid by the manufacturer, but it is unclear how many were distributed to residents. The recall was issued because unauthorized tests may not provide accurate results.
For those who have obtained an at-home COVID-19 test kit in Philadelphia, it is important to check the label on the side of the box. If the lot number reads “COV2110012,” the kit should be discarded. Free replacements are available at city health centers and other locations throughout the city. The issue of counterfeit COVID-19 tests has been a concern since the start of the pandemic, and the FDA and FTC have been monitoring and taking action against fraudulent products.
Using an unauthorized test kit may not pose immediate danger but can lead to inaccurate results. A false negative could potentially result in unknowingly spreading the virus and delaying necessary treatment. Similarly, a false positive could lead to unnecessary treatment and increased exposure to individuals who are actually positive. To ensure the validity of test kits in the future, the Philadelphia Health Department is reviewing its inventory and implementing new procedures to confirm the authorization of tests before distribution. Despite the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations, the numbers remain comparatively low to previous years.