What Does a Weak Positive Covid-19 Test Look Like?
Detecting the COVID-19 virus during testing is essential to properly diagnosing and treating the infection. High-quality tests, such as PCR and lateral flow tests, produce fantastic results but are not 100% accurate. There are cases when the test might produce a weak positive.
So, what does a weak positive COVID-19 test look like, why does it occur, and what happens when it does occur? This article will cover all you need to know, including weak positive rapid COVID-19 test meaning and more.
Why Some COVID-19 Tests Are Weak Positive?
A PCR test detects the presence of various viruses and pathogens. These tests search for viral material in respiratory samples such as saliva samples or nose or throat swabs.
A sample is deemed positive or negative depending on the number of times the segment of genetic material needs to be amplified to detect the virus. The result of this test depends on whether the number lands above or below a specific figure.
To identify the virus when there is a large amount present, only a few amplification cycles are required. When there isn't enough virus to detect, we must repeat the amplification process numerous times before we can declare the sample negative. Essentially, a negative result needs more amplification cycles than a positive one.
Therefore, we may see a weak positive result in this procedure. Typically, the reading would be at or slightly above the threshold. And depending on the test used, that threshold changes. It is important to note that thresholds are merely the times when we believe we have observed a behaviour. They are not completely accurate.
Results can be false negatives or positives depending on where they fall around a threshold (above or below). A test line that barely exhibits a positive reaction is said to have a weak-positive test result. Imagining what this would look like might be hard, which is why a positive Covid-19 test picture should help.
It's critical to understand the particular test being used matters because the threshold for specific tests varies. Keep in mind that false positives are not limited to PCR tests. While highly accurate and government-backed, you can also find false positives with rapid tests, such as a FlowFlex antigen test or Healgen rapid antigen test. Regardless, your best bet would be to follow the Healgen or FlowFlex COVID-19 test instruction video or leaflet to ensure accurate results.
When Might You Get a Weak Positive Result?
In most COVID-19 cases, the genetic material of a virus cannot be discovered until after it has already infected a human. At this point, it is actively replicating and spreading throughout the respiratory system causing respiratory infections.
However, in some cases, even after the virus has died and is no longer capable of reproducing, it may still be present and be detected by PCR. Having said that, it is unclear whether the virus is communicable in the settings described here.
Those with compromised immune systems are more likely to experience this condition because the virus remains in their bodies for longer after it has been eliminated.
What to Do If You Have a Weak Positive Covid-19 Test Result?
Unless there is information to the contrary, most professionals would consider a weak positive as being positive and will operate under the assumption that it is positive. Following the national testing guidelines for COVID-19, retesting the same sample should be done in the event that a weak positive result is achieved. They recommend obtaining an additional sample as well.
If the first sample was retested under particular conditions, there is a possibility that the likelihood of a SARS-CoV-2 infection might increase. However, collecting and analysing a new sample might offer further confirmation of the findings.
The succeeding test can concentrate on a different component of the virus's genetic makeup, or it might use an alternative method. The sample could also be sent to a reference laboratory in order to have specialised tests conducted there in order to validate the results.
A weak positive COVID-19 test result shows that a sample shows a positive reaction but barely because it falls slightly above a specific threshold. It usually occurs when COVID-19 patients still have the virus in their systems even though it has died. However, there is some uncertainty regarding whether the virus is communicable.
Weak positive COVID-19 test results are typically considered positive. That said, national testing guidelines demand that the test be retaken to ensure its accuracy. Furthermore, the guidelines also state that another sample should be taken and processed using the same test or another method.