How Often Are COVID-19 Tests False Positive?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people across the globe, many companies are looking for a fast and easy way to know that their employees are virus free. For many, taking a rapid COVID test seems to be the answer for a convenient way to verify if they are negative or positive. But are these tests accurate?

Types of COVID-19 Tests

The two most common tests to identify if an individual has SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, are a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and an antigen test. 

A PCR test detects COVID-19 through the genetic material of the coronavirus. An antigen test diagnoses COVID-19 by searching for specific molecules on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most rapid tests take the form of antigen tests and provide results in as little as 15 minutes. 

A rapid antigen test is ideal for detecting COVID-19 early in the course of the disease if you are showing symptoms. If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, a rapid test will allow you to confirm if you are positive quickly. 

How Common Are False Positives for COVID-19 Tests?

Rapid tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, but they still play a vital role in diagnosing COVID-19 cases. Like other antigen tests, most rapid COVID-19 tests have a higher false positive COVID-19 test rate. However, while the chance of a false positive is higher, rapid tests still give correct results in 99.6% of individuals

A false positive is when you receive a positive result despite not having COVID-19. To confirm the test result, it is a good idea to follow up the rapid test with a PCR test. An inaccurate result can be due to many factors, such as administering the rapid test incorrectly according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

How Common Are False Positives for COVID-19 Tests?

Purchase COVID-19 Tests From SUNLINE Supply

At-home COVID-19 antigen tests are easy to use and provide quick results. Regular testing is the key to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in schools, hospitals and workplaces. Fortunately, retailers such as SUNLINE Supply carry reliable COVID-19 antigen and antibody testing kits in bulk so you can help keep your staff, students or patients safe.

To learn more about our COVID-19 testing kits or to place an order, complete our contact form!

Ryen Neuman - Vice President of Business Development


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