A Melbourne doctor has opened up about why some people have been getting false negatives from their rapid antigen tests and shared the best way to boost your chances of getting an accurate result.
Dr Michael Mrozinski, 35, is a Melbourne GP who has dedicated his platform on TikTok to ‘calling out medical misinformation’.
In his latest video he explained why people doing at-home Covid tests should also swab their throats as well as their noses, as this can help ensure you don’t get a false negative.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET A PCR TEST FOR COVID?
With immense pressure on Australia’s healthcare system from record Covid cases, testing clinics are overwhelmed along with the labs that process the results.
Health authorities have urged that only the follow groups get a PCR test.
*Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms like a sore throat
*Anyone who has been deemed a close contact
*Anyone who has received a positive rapid-antigen test
*Anyone who has been in a superspreader venue which health authorities have advised there is a high-risk of transmission
He said the reason for this is that Omicron, unlike Delta, can be detected earlier in the back of the throat than the nose.
‘Everybody always remembers to do the nostrils but don’t forget to do the back of the throat,’ he said.
‘Or else you might get a false negative.’
Research has found that RATs are more effective at detecting the virus in symptomatic people due to higher viral loads.
Viral loads refer to the amount of the virus present in your body.
To combat this issue the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has released three categories of ‘sensitivity’ different RATs fall into.
The sensitivity refers to how likely the test is to detect small amounts of covid virus.
However, there is also concern over the RATs providing false positives.
The government has asked that anybody that receives a positive result from a RAT test undergo a PCR test to confirm the result.
The PCR is considered more reliable than a second RAT when confirming a positive.
The TGA has approved 18 different rapid antigen tests but shortages mean people can’t buy them either in chemists or online.
Prices for RATs have skyrocketed to roughly $15 each from a range of retailers due to the apparent shortages.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would investigate whether the reasons retailers gave for inflated prices were legitimate.
They said they would not hold back from ‘naming and shaming’ companies that were found to be unfairly raising their prices.
ARE RAT KITS ACCURATE AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Not every RAT kit is created equally. Some are more accurate than others, but overall the kits can be very effective in diagnosing Covid.
While PCR tests are almost 100 per cent accurate, the complex chemical process required to determine a result is currently taking laboratory workers about four days due the massive backlog of samples.
In comparison, the results of a RAT kit can be uncovered in 10-20 minutes for most brands.
To separate the most effective brands from the duds, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reviewed a host of studies carried out on the manufacturers.
The bare minimum standard required for RAT kits to be sold in Australia is 80 per cent clinical sensitivity, which sees the product labelled ‘acceptable sensitivity’.
Kits with 90 per cent effectiveness are considered ‘high sensitivity’ and brands that have above 95 per cent marked ‘very high sensitivity’.
There are only 15 brands which have met these criteria with just five RAT kits given the ‘very high sensitivity’ label.
RATs Sensitivity Ranking
Very High Sensitivity
All Test SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Nasal Swab) (ICOV-502H) Self-Test – Nasal swab
LYHER Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Antigen Test Kit (Colloidal Gold) Self-Test – Nasal swab
OnSite COVID-19 Ag Self Test – Nasal swab
Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test – Nasal swab
Rapid SARS-COV-2 Antigen Test Card Self-test – Nasal swab
V-Chek COVID-19 Antigen Saliva Test – Saliva
All Test COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (Oral Fluid) Self-Test (ICOV-802H) – Oral fluid
Hough COVID-19 Home Test – Nasal swab
JusChek SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Nasal Swab) INCP-502H Self Test – Nasal swab
JusChek COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (Oral Fluid) ICOV-802H Self Test – Oral fluid
My Covid Test Antigen Rapid Test (Oral Fluid) (ICOV-802H) Self-Test – Oral fluid
Orawell COVID-19 Ag Rapid saliva test device (Self-test) – Saliva
RightSign COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette (Nasal Swab) – Nasal swab
TESTSEALABS COVID-19 Antigen Test Cassette – Nasal swab
CareStart COVID-19 Antigen Home Test – Nasal swab
Ecotest COVID-19 Antigen Saliva Test kit (COV-S35Pen) – Saliva
InnoScreen COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test Device (Self Test) – Nasal swab
SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self Test Nasal – Nasal swab
Source: Thanks msn.com