MUST READ!!! COVID-19 Diagnostics: John Hopkins Researchers Warns Of False Negatives and Accuracy Of Current RT-PCR Covid-19 Tests
: Medical researchers from John Hopkins based on new study findings are warning about the accuracy of current RT-PCR Diagnostic platforms being used globally to detect those infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and also about false negatives.
The research findings were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine
The reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR), which uses an individuals' respiratory sample to detect viral particles and determine if the person may have been exposed to a new coronavirus is one of the most commonly used diagnostic tools, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical and laboratory professionals across the world have used RT-PCR to find out if an individual has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
These diagnostic tests have played a critical role in various countries’ response to the pandemic.
However while they are important, medical researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that the chance of a false negative result ie when a virus is not detected in a person who actually is, or recently has been, infected is greater than 1 in 5 and, at times, far higher.
The research team caution that the predictive value of these tests may not always yield accurate results and timing of the test seems to matter greatly in the accuracy.
The medical researchers found that the probability of a false negative result decreases from 100% on Day 1 of being infected to 67% on Day 4. The false negative rate decreased to 20% on Day 8 (three days after a person begins experiencing symptoms).
The team also found that on the day a person started experiencing actual symptoms of illness, the average false negative rate was 38%. In addition, the false negative rate began to increase again from 21% on Day 9 to 66% on Day 21.
The research which analyzed seven previously published studies on RT-PCR performance, adds to evidence that caution should be used in the interpretation of negative test results, particularly for individuals likely to have been exposed or who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
In certain countries, up to three tests are conducted in intervals of 24hrs each to ascertain test results.
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