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Anomalous COVID-19 tests hinder researchers

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Science  15 Jan 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6526, pp. 244-245
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf8873

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  • RE: Interpreting the Outcomes of COVID-19 Tests

    The expert team of researchers examine the anomalous outcomes of COVID-19 tests.

    Correct outcomes can only be determined from clinical trials where volunteers are monitored against confirmed infections and placebos.

    In the real world, there can be false positives and false negatives, each with associated social consequences, especially arising from nasal swabs as compared with saliva samples, which can lead to mixed results.

    Asymptomatic medical researchers working with non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids can be detected with anomalous surveillance test results, so that further testing is required to determine if there is a true active infection.

    Waste water checks frequently lead to false positive outcomes, even without an outbreak of infections in the locality.

    These mixed results suggest that caution should be exercised before determining the outcome of tests for the presence of COVID-19.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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