Coronavirus: Testing types and reliability

Five on 2

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Following Governor DeWine’s test result confusion, coronavirus testing was under scrutiny Friday. DeWine tested positive Thursday afternoon and by Thursday evening received two negative test results.

Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein with Kettering Health Network joined 2 NEWS to discuss the complexity of testing.

PCR testing looks for specific viral RNA, while some rapid tests like the one DeWine initially took test for proteins on the surface of the virus.

“None of the tests are perfect. Those antigen tests, which are rapid, tend to not be quite as accurate as the ones that we call PCR,” Dr. Weinstein said.

Dr. Weinstein says it’s actually more common for someone to test negative for the virus when they are actually infected, as opposed to seeing a false positive like in DeWine’s case. Both occur in a low percentage.

“Typically we follow it up with a second test so in his case, because it was the less accurate test that was positive, they did the better test after that and of course, that proved that he does not have the infection,’ he said.

He goes on to say that it’s more likely there was an environmental factor that led to the governor’s false positive as opposed to a factor in DeWine’s health.


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