There is now a record number of infections wreaking havoc around us. And when quick tests are a mainstay of our strategy, many are wondering if we can rely on express tests.
It is clear from experts that we cannot blindly trust rapid tests, and a negative rapid test is not proof that you do not have coronavirus.
Rapid tests and PCR tests are good for their respective purposes, says Espen Rostrop Nakstad, assistant director of health.
Rapid tests have proven well-suited to detecting infected people, while somewhat more sensitive PCR tests in some cases find viruses in people who are no longer infectious. Therefore, it is possible for the test to be negative in rapid tests, but positive in PCR tests after a course of illness with covid-19, Nakstad tells TV 2.
Fear of dark numbers
Both the Norwegian Directorate of Health and Nakstad understand that not everyone is doing home tests correctly, which can lead to murky numbers regarding the extent of the infection.
For a test to be reliable, it must be properly taken and analyzed. We know that someone who doesn’t hold the test stick in the front of the nose long enough, might not leave it in for analysis long enough, says Nakstad.
How to use the quick test correctly
In other cases, he adds, you may not have read the express test in time.
– We therefore recommend that you read the instructions for use very carefully before using a rapid test, so that you are sure to carry out sampling and analysis, says the Health Director.
Quick Test Planning
Noklus has previously carried out a quality check of various antigen tests for health authorities. Now they are mapping all the different rapid tests that are sold in Norway.
Knuckles’ leader, Mitt Kristofferson Tollans, clearly varies the quality of the different rapid tests.
“In general, we know that rapid tests are worse than PCR tests and that they are worse in people without symptoms than in people who do have symptoms,” she says.
– But a good quality rapid test that is used correctly, by people with symptoms, is reliable. The scary thing is that there are a number of quick testers for sale whose quality we know nothing of, says Tollånes.
She adds that they don’t know how much of a problem people are getting tests done incorrectly, and no one has properly investigated people’s biggest mistake.
– But the usual mistake you make is, for example, that you do not use the stick correctly in the nose and therefore do not get enough viruses, or that you read the test too early or too late. In addition, it is conceivable that very poor quality tests are in circulation, says the Nucleus leader.
Test project canceled
This summer, the FHI had plans to test how good the rapid tests really were, by running tests on about 15,000 people who were going to five test parties in Oslo and Bergen.
But FHI’s director of research, Atle Fretheim, who was in charge of the event on behalf of FHI, said: The project stopped When Oslo said no to test parties and Bergen could not provide testing capacity.
When this project was discontinued, no one had a definitive answer about how good the rapid tests really were, says Friedheim.
false negative test
The Noklus leader says there may also be significant differences between the different rapid tests being sold.
– The rapid tests bought by the authorities are good. Many others we don’t know much about. We’re in the process of collecting available documentation on this topic, to create an overview, says Tollans.
Is a negative rapid test evidence that you do not have corona?
– No. The test can be a “false negative” if you don’t have symptoms and have few viruses in your airways. It can also be a false negative if you do something wrong when you test yourself. Or it may be a false negative if it is of poor quality.
Unsure of the correct use of a home test? Watch the video in this case.
10 million tests in December
There is now a vociferous need for rapid testing across the country. Many pharmacies report that there is a lot of disagreement about the tests and that they will be sold out soon.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health has said that during the month of December they will receive an additional 10 million tests that will be distributed to municipalities.
– We will strive to send all municipalities at least as many new tests as the number of residents in the municipality before Christmas, they write in press release.
The directorate says it is working on several new rapid checks.
– We aim to get about 30 million examinations in 2022. They will be distributed to the municipalities according to the same principle.
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