What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Testing

By Dr. James Partyka | PHARMATIVE.com

In this previous epsidode of PHARMATIVE Live, we summarize 5 important points to consider about your COVID-19 test result:

1) What will I do with my test result? First, contact your healthcare professional to discuss your test result. A positive test means you have the COVID-19 virus and you may need to isolate and trace your contacts.

2) Is this test FDA approved? Do not receive a COVID-19 test which is not FDA approved.

3) What is the sensitivity of the test? A test with poor sensitivity means a higher false negative rate.

4) What is the specificity of the test? A test with poor specificity means higher a false positive rate.

5) What is the Positive Predictive Value (PPV) of the test? PPV is the probability of patients who have a positive test and actually have the disease. PPV is calculated by the prevalence of disease (new + old cases), sensitivity and specificity of the test. A higher prevalence of disease results in a higher PPV; a higher sensitivity and/or specificity of a test results in a higher PPV.

Remember, a COVID-19 test result like any test is determined by many factors including: viral load, assay, instrument, sample quality, and operator of the test. A test which is 95% sensitive means 5% of results are false negative. A test which is 90% specific, means 10% of results are false positive.

When obtaining a COVID-19 test and test result, you should discuss these points with your clinician and ask if and when you should haved this test repeated.

Until next time, remember to stay healthy as it’s easier to prevent disease than to treat disease.

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