A video going viral on the internet has been shared with a false claim that COVID-19 testing kits come with a preloaded positive or negative result, which is used to cheat people.
However, we found that the positive and negative controls present in the testing kits are part of quality control measures for COVID-19 tests. The positive and negative "control" samples are included in KITS to help detect any faults.
The caption along with the viral video said: "PCR tests come with one positive and one negative result. So they can tell you whatever they want it to be. These are created for “controlled studies”. To cheat in studies and get the results they want basically. That’s what a controlled study means.
Still trust science?"
The users tried to insinuate that the tests for COVID-19 were fake and testing centres were cheating people by giving positive/negative results as per their own wish.
The same caption was used by several social media users on Facebook and Twitter.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We found the original video posted on the social media website TikTok on 16 February. The post by a user named @marektoman48 was captioned, "#jak #se #dela #covid #test #positiv". There was no other information provided in the video.”
We then went through the video and found that the first part of the claim stating that "it's a PCR test" is false as one can clearly see "Rapid Test Device" written on the packets.
The testing kits in question were made by Abbott and were called Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device, which is an antigen test.
We checked the product description of the device available on their website. Under "External Quality Control", it said, "The controls are specifically formulated and manufactured to ensure performance of the Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device and are used to verify the user’s ability to properly perform the test and interpret the results."
“The Positive Control will produce a positive test result and has been manufactured to produce a visible test line (T). The Negative Control will produce a negative test result,” the product description added.
It also says, “Good laboratory practice suggests the use of positive and negative controls to ensure that: Test reagents are working, and the test is correctly performed...”
This means that the positive and negative controls are not supposed to be used for testing humans. Each testing kit contains 25 sterilised nasal swabs for sample collection.
The importance of conducting negative and positive control tests have been documented before in the Nature journal. According to the paper, testing positive and negative controls "enables control and test failures to be distinguished, increasing confidence in the accuracy of results."
Therefore, the claim that the tests are “preloaded” to give a result is false. The positive and negative controls are used to make sure that a sample test is working correctly.