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Variation in false-negative rate of RT PCR–based SARS-CoV-2 tests by time since exposure: Dr. Sudhir Mehta comments

M3 India Newsdesk Jun 02, 2020

Dr. Sudhir Mehta, comments on a recent analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine, which reported on how the predictive value of RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase- polymerase chain reaction) test varies and why it should not be the sole test used to rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection.


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Test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) based on reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are being used to “rule out” infection among high-risk persons, such as exposed inpatients and healthcare workers. It is critical to understand how the predictive value of the test varies with time from exposure and symptom onset to avoid being falsely reassured by negative test results.

Objective: To estimate the false-negative rate by day since infection.

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