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Coronavirus Outbreak

COVID-19: Testing Negative But Still Have Symptoms? Here’s What You Need To Know

Some reports suggest that the novel coronavirus is escaping detection in the RT-PCR testing method, and even people having symptoms test negative for the virus, here’s why

COVID-19: Testing Negative But Still Have Symptoms? Here’s What You Need To Know
  • People may be testing negative due to tests not being adaptive: Expert
  • Low viral load in the body could result in a negative test report: Expert
  • Overburden of COVID-19 tests have compromised the quality of test: Expert

New Delhi: India recorded a grim milestone of crossing 3 lakh cases a day. In the recent weeks of the surge in cases, one of the most peculiar and constant query has been about those who have COVID-19 symptoms but continue to test negative in RT-PCR tests. Sometimes, even though CT scan reports display patches in lungs due to coronavirus, the RT-PCR test report remains negative. According to experts, RT-PCR is the gold standard for COVID detection, however, as per reports from across the country, at least 1 in 5 patients may end up getting a false negative report. Why is that happening?

NDTV reached out to some experts and doctors to understand the reason behind this and according to them, there could be three reasons behind this.

Also Read: How To Treat Covid-19 Patients At Home, Here Is What Doctors Recommend

Reason 1- Tests Not Adapted to the New Variants

As per Dr Harsh Mahajan, Radiologist and President of Nathealth, the RT-PCR have not yet adapted to the new variants, wherein particularly the UK variant is showing some deletions.

Even though RT-PCR is gold standard, we have known from Day 1 that there’s a 30 per cent chance of it to be inaccurate. Moreover, when the testing kits are developed, the scientists pick up those parts of virus which are least prone to mutate, therefore this could be a reason behind the false-negatives.

Reason 2 – Low Viral Load

The second reason for this could be that the viral load in your body is so less that its not getting detected in the RT-PCR test, as per experts.

Reason 3 – Testing Load Compromising Quality

Testing overload at this time could also be resulting in compromise in quality.

The sample collection, transportation as well as the overburden of the cases, wherein the labs are not able to complete the analysis of the sample, plays a major role in the quality of tests, Dr Mahajan explained.

What Can You Do If This Happens to You?

According to Dr Sumit Ray, Critical Care Department in Delhi’s Holy Family Hospital, the first thing to do is to isolate yourself, inform your doctor and share your symptoms. Next, keep a constant track of your oxygen levels. Use an Oximeter, which is available at every chemist, keep it handy and use it often. If your oxygen levels fall below 94, you should inform your doctor as it is a reason of concern.

Next, repeat your RT-PCR test in 2-3 days, and take advise of your doctor to get a CT scan, says Dr Ray.

Lastly, Dr Ray says to get a blood test.

Blood tests at times are a good marker of inflammation and they can also give you and your doctor an idea of what is going on in your body, in particular, the C-reactive protein and the D dimer. Both of them are said to be a good testing ground for understanding what is happening in your body.

Also Read: As COVID Cases In India Sets World Record, Centre Recommends “Proning”. Here’s All You Need To Know

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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