World famous entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk had himself tested for the novel coronavirus four times on Friday. Half of the tests came back negative. The other half came back positive.
“Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.”
Perhaps this news isn’t as surprising as it reads at first. The rapid antigen tests are quickly becoming notorious for the amount of false positives they give, which, according to many critics, are disproportionately high and bordering on not useful.
According to the FDA, the odds of getting a false positive actually go up as the prevalence of the disease lessens with this type of test, due to its very nature. The FDA’s website indicates that one can expect 20 percent false positives in a population where 10 percent of the people actually have the disease, and if that prevalence goes down to 1 percent, the amount of false positives will actually increase to 70% percent.
It is felt by many that the actual nature of these tests and how they relate to the virus are often misunderstood, even by government officials.
A PCR, or polymer chain reaction, test is considered to be much more reliable. This is typically the sort of test required for things such as international travel.