In a move that could significantly expand the nation’s testing capacity, the Food and Drug Administration has posted new guidelines that could pave the way for millions of people to test themselves for the coronavirus at home.
The guidelines allow companies to develop and market testing kits with the tools to swab their noses and mail the specimens to any lab in the country.
Efforts to contain the pandemic have been hobbled by a series of botched screening efforts. Initially, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention shipped flawed test kits to the states, and subsequent regulatory hurdles stymied the roll out of tests produced by private companies and commercial labs.
Access to tests has been improving, but nationwide testing shortages continue to hamper the ability of health authorities to identify and isolate people who are infected.
The F.D.A. said it hoped the new guidelines, posted on its site on Wednesday