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COVID Tests Aren't a "Big Farce"

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
9th July 2021
COVID Tests Aren't a "Big Farce"
When used correctly, LFTs predict COVID-19 accurately (Getty Images).

The Claim

COVID-19 tests are a big farce.

Emerging story

A Facebook post is being widely shared that reports COVID-19 tests are a “big farce.” The user claims that when water and a sweet drink are applied to the COVID-19 test, it shows a positive COVID-19 result. 

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar discovered the type of COVID-19 test in question is a lateral flow test (LFT) and this is not the first time tricking the test has been successfully accomplished. According to the BBC, some children in the United Kingdom have been purposely creating a false positive COVID-19 result on this type of test to get out of going to school. It seems that one way to trick the test is to use an acidic liquid such as cola or orange juice on the test instead of saliva. 

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While it is not completely understood why acidic beverages break the test, it is a concept that the makers of the test have cautioned about when they recommended “Do not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes before doing the test to reduce the risk of spoiling the test” in their instructions for use. 

When used correctly, lateral flow tests predict COVID-19 fairly accurately. According to GAVI.org, the test will accurately identify 72% of the cases among people with COVID-19 symptoms, and 58% for people without symptoms. This means for every 100 people infected with COVID-19 who had symptoms, 72 would test positive on a LFT. If someone does test positive for COVID-19 with the lateral flow test, there is about a 99% chance that they have the virus. 

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Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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