The FDA sends out a warning that a widely used covid-19 test could produce false negatives.
“If the swab is not obtained correctly, one runs the risk of having a false negative test meaning that you really do carry the virus but the swab was not obtained correctly and therefore tests are negative,” Dr. Mark Casanova, Specialty Internal Medicine with Baylor Scott & White.”
Curative is a year-old start-up from Silicon Valley and its tests are used in major cities like L.A., San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, and at sites in Riverside County.
But there’s an important detail that some people may be missing when they get a curative test.
“Because we take the sample from inside the mouth it’s very important to not eat or drink, or brush your teeth, within 20-30 minutes of doing the test,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Ambulatory Medical Director with Riverside University Health System.
When you sign up for a curative test, you get an email with a confirmation, and at the bottom of the email, it tells the patient not to eat, drink or smoke for 20 minutes before the test.
However, it’s at the bottom of the email and there’s a possibility the patient could miss that detail especially if they’ve had other covid tests that didn’t have this requirement.
No matter what test you get, Riverside County Public Health Officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser tweeted an important reminder that you can be negative one day, and positive the next, even using a P-C-R test, one of the most accurate.
“When the test is positive, it is very very accurate, the question that has come up is when it’s negative, is there a higher risk that you might have some false negative tests,” added Dr. Leung.
“Too often people take a negative test as they don’t have covid, they do not need masking, and they do not have to change their behavior. that is not how these tests should be read,” said Dr. Alan Wells, Pathologist.
Officials are not recommending those that took a curative to re-test unless they know they have been exposed or are developing symptoms.