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Diagnostics too sensitive: Your Covid test is positive. Should it be?

The usual diagnostic tests may simply be too sensitive and too slow to contain the spread of the virus

Coronavirus, vaccine, covid, drugs, clinical trials
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The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected.

Apoorva Mandavilli | NYT
Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus.

Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time. But researchers say the solution is not to test less, or to skip testing people without symptoms, as recently suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Instead, new data

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First Published: Aug 30 2020 | 8:49 AM IST

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