Experts have revealed a simple mistake people with Covid-19 are making, concealing the true number of infected people in Australia.
The head of Pathology Technology Australia (PTA) has revealed little known facts about rapid antigen tests which could be leading Covid-19 positive cases to produce negative results.
RATs are most accurate during a person’s infectious period, so taking a test too early after infection or too late may alter the result.
A negative result one day can often be followed by a positive result one or more days later, so Dean Whiting, CEO of PTA, suggests repeat testing is needed to ensure accuracy.
On Wednesday, Australia recorded 54,000 new Covid cases, up from 46,000 the day before, marking the second day of an upward trend in cases.
More than 30,000, or roughly 55 per cent, of the latest daily cases were discovered through the use of a rapid antigen test.
Another 39 deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of deaths since the pandemic began to 6,648.
Mr Whiting is concerned negative tests are being interpreted as Covid-free, concealing the true extent of the current transmission rates.
“The public was told for months these tests weren’t accurate enough for Australia, only for them to suddenly become a crucial diagnostic tool,” Mr Whiting told 7 News.
“There hasn’t been sufficient time to adequately inform (the public),” he said.
Mr Whiting is not alone in his concern, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) having previously warned of testing errors which can lead to inaccurate results.
Eating and drinking, chewing gum, brushing your teeth and smoking up to 30 minutes before collecting saliva for a home test are among the everyday activities the TGA says can alter a test result.
It advises waiting 48 hours after coming into contact with a known Covid-positive person before completing a RAT, and within five to seven days after exposure.
A review of RAT kits and how sensitive they are to specific Covid-19 variants is currently being undertaken by the TGA.