Covid-19 variants: Can the new mutant strains evade RT-PCR tests? What are the new symptoms: Details here
New Delhi, Apr 23: Covid-19 variants have been causing a conern wherever they emerge. India is witnessing a surge in the number of cases of COVID-19, and the mutant strains of Covid-19 is creating a confusion. It is being speculated that because of the new mutant strains, RT-PCR tests are coming negative, even when a person is actually positive and has symptoms of the infection.
For now, the new strains of Covid-19 do not appear to increase the severity of the illness, but the new evidence suggests that the Covid-19 infection is going undetected in the RT-PCR test.
Dr Anurag Agarwal, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics confirmed that while it is possible that a covid positive person may test negative in an RT-PCR test, double mutant strain is not the reason.
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RT- PCR tests giving false negative reports due to mutants?
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Currently, the most widely used tests for Covid-19 are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and lateral flow tests (LFTs).
Accodring to Dr Chandra, Consultant Physician, Helvetia Medical Centre, Delhi,'' New mutant seems to be undetectable by RTPCR test. I believe there are double & triple mutant varieties & due to change in structure, RTPCR tests unable to detect. New varieties seem to cause new symptoms.''
'We're seeing patients with diarrhoea, abdominal pain, rashes, conjunctivitis, confusion state, brain fog, bluish discolouration of fingers & toes, bleeding through nose & throat apart from usual symptoms -sore throat, body ache, fever, loss of smell & taste,'' Dr Souradipta Chandra further said.
The statement comes in the backdrop of reports where the Health Ministry said that the RT-PCR tests used in India do not miss the UK, Brazil, South Africa or the Double Mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus as they target more than two genes.