The test roll-out is intended to ease the reopening of England's economy. But the move was met with critics who say rapid testing is a waste of money because it could result in many false positives.
The Food and Drug Administration says Abbott's BinaxNOW test and Quidel's QuickVue can be sold without a prescription.
People who have been sick with COVID-19 may need only one dose of the normally two-shot vaccines. If that became policy it could extend vaccine supplies, but logistical challenges are daunting.
The new tests produce results completely at home within 15 minutes. Experts say they could be a 'game-changer' in helping people find out quickly if they need to isolate.
Some public health experts hope the growing availability of faster, cheaper tests could lead to a new strategy of widespread testing — one that could finally get the pandemic under control.