Covid-19 tests may be showing 'false negatives' - Irish health experts warn

Covid-19 tests may be showing 'false negatives' - Irish health experts warn

IRISH HEALTH EXPERTS have warned that coronavirus tests may be displaying incorrect results.

As many as one in five Covid-19 tests could be showing 'false negatives', according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Particular concerns have been raised about the throat swab tests that have been producing negative results, with many experts worried about the accuracy of the method.

It's understood that eyebrows were also raised when patients showing very typical symptoms of Covid-19 came back with negative results.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, a HSE official said that the test's "sensitivity" is between 70 and 80%.

The latest figures from the Department of Health revealed that as of midnight, Monday, July 20, 574,487 tests have been carried out.

That week, 51,128 tests were carried out. 139 tests were positive, giving a positivity rate of 0.27%.

Infectious Disease Specialist Sam McConkey said he wasn't surprised that coronavirus tests were delivering false negatives.

"In the early stages of infection, if you're infected today and the next few days, you're negative," he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"It takes a while for it to become positive and then also it only lasts positive for about five or six days.

"So even if people are still coughing and still perhaps getting very sick in the latter stages, it can also be negative later on.

"I would still say it’s a very valuable test, because if it’s negative it really points to you not being infectious.

"So the test we’ve been using here through March and April has really helped us control the virus really well by detecting cases using that PCR test and tracing all their contacts, keeping everyone in isolation."