How you’re doing your Covid rapid antigen test WRONG – and could be infecting others while believing you are in the clear
- Experts are concerned that Covid numbers are higher due to incorrect RAT use
- Head of Pathology Technology Australia said repeat tests needed for accuracy
- The TGA warned not to eat, drink, chew gum or smoke before using a RAT
Thousands more Australians could be infected with Covid without knowing it because they are not doing rapid antigen tests properly.
Pathology Technology Australia chief executive Dean Whiting said the tests were are very accurate during the virus’ infectious phase, but only if used correctly.
Mr Whiting worried Australians were making simple errors in administering the tests that could lead to false negatives.
‘This is unsurprising given the public was told for months these tests weren’t accurate enough for Australia, only for them to suddenly become a crucial diagnostic tool,’ he said.
Experts have expressed concern over Covid community transmission being more widespread than what’s been officially reported due to the incorrect use of rapid antigen tests. Stock image
‘There hasn’t been sufficient time to adequately inform [the public].’
A negative result shouldn’t be interpreted as being Covid-free, Mr Whiting said, with repeat tests needed to ensure accuracy.
Epidemiologist and public health emergency management specialist Henning Liljeqvist often sees people failing to correctly extract samples or apply drops as per the test instructions.
‘I think it would be good to address the importance of not eating, drinking, brushing teeth or rinsing mouth before oral swabs also,’ he said.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is doing a post-market review of rapid antigen tests to assess their ability in detecting emerging Covid variants.
The TGA previously cautioned those using RA tests to not eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth or chew gum for 10–30 minutes before collecting a saliva sample for analysis as it can produce a false Covid result.
Rapid antigen tests should also only be used once and then disposed of.
Daily case in Australia had a slight uptick on Wednesday despite appearing to be on a downward trend.
There were almost 48,000 new cases on Tuesday, bucking a four-day consecutive drop in numbers which culminated with 41,806 new infections on Monday.
But there was a significant spike in deaths on Tuesday, with the death toll rising by 40, compared to five on Monday.
Epidemiologist and public health emergency management specialist Henning Liljeqvist often sees people failing to correctly extract samples or apply drops as per the test instructions. Stock image