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Nasal swab followed by antibody test may catch incorrect COVID-19 diagnoses

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Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right COVID-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.

Nose and throat swabs miss around 30% to 50% of infections, say the University of Cambridge team, as the virus can disappear from the upper respiratory tract into the lungs. But they say adding an antibody test can plug that gap. Antibodies show up from about six days after infection.

A team at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge has piloted the use of combined tests for patients arriving at the hospital. Many arrive with flu-like symptoms and need an accurate diagnosis to ensure they are put on the right wards, so that there is no risk of COVID-19 patients infecting others.

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Source: The Guardian, 2 September 2020

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