Rapid tests may give “false negatives”

in News · 21-09-2020 16:07:00 · 0 Comments

The Ministry of Health has admitted to using rapid covid-19 detection tests, which give results in half an hour, but have stated that they are never used as the sole criterion for assessment, as they may reveal "false negatives".

The information was presented at the DGS press conference on the evolution of the covid-19 pandemic, when the Secretary of State for Health was asked about the announcement by the Portuguese Red Cross (CVP) to offer half a million tests for use in homes and schools.

António Lacerda Sales thanked CVP for the offer of tests that allow people to know their results in a short time - "between 10 and 30 minutes" - but warned that they can reveal a "false negative" when in reality the person is infected.

"In view of this high probability of negative tests, we believe that it should not be a single criterion in the evaluation," said António Lacerda Sales.

However, he acknowledged that these tests can be "an asset" in a "context of scarcity of resources, epidemiological developments and specific situations", such as outbreaks in homes or schools.

"In principle these tests also have a slightly lower sensitivity than the conventional tests we do", he explained, giving as an example situations where the patient has a low viral load and ends up having a "falsely negative test".


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