False negative an issue with COVID-19 testing!

13 July 2020

There have been several case where patients showing clinical symptoms of Covid-19 have reported false negative multiple times. They were confirmed positive after repeated test.

Many experts have warned that, the test result may come out negative even if one has contracted Covid-19 and advising that showing symptoms of the disease must be treated without waiting for a confirmatory test to prevent for aggravation of the infection.there have been several cases where patients showing clinical symptoms of Covid-19 have reported false negatives multiple times. They were confirmed positive after repeated tests.

Dr. Neeraj Gupta, professor in the Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Safdarjung Hospital suggested that, The general perception of the experts now is that a high degree of suspicion arising out of the clinical symptomatology  and CT scan reports should be the guiding factor for treatment rather than relying only on the RT-PCR test which has sensitivity of only 70 per cent. Even the rapid antigen test has a sensitivity of 40 per cent. So many patients will be missed if we rely only upon hese test. The antibody test have a sensitivity of 90 per cent but they are only useful for confirming past exposure for SARS-CoV-2 and have no value in the early stages of the disease.

All the treatment strategies should be guided towards preventing the progress of the disease from its mild to moderate or moderate to severe and for that we cannot wait on test reports.we have to go bt clinical symptoms.

It is reported that there have been several instances where the patients tested negative even after three or four RT-PCR test despite clinical presentations and CT scan indicating atypical pneumonia which is  highly suggestive of Covid-19. Later on they were found to have antibodies against coronavirus which means they had the infection but their results had come out negative in the RT-PCR tests. If patients have the symptoms, more so, if he or she is an elderly or has co-morbidities, they should be treated on the lines of Covid-19 ans managed accordingly without waiting for test confirmation.

Test not accurate

The high degree of suspicion arising out of the clinical symptomatology and CT scan reports should be the guiding factor for treatment rather than relying only on the RT-PCR test which has a sensitivity of only 70 per cent.

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