When a COVID-19 test returns a false-positive result — meaning a person does not have a SARS-CoV-2 infection, yet the test is positive — this disrupts that person’s life unnecessarily.
However, a false negative — when someone does have an infection, but the test is negative — is more detrimental. This is because treatment is mistakenly deferred, and the individual may infect others as they continue to participate in their regular daily activities.
A new study from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, suggests that the time of day at which a person takes an RT-PCR COVID-19 test may affect the likelihood of an inaccurate result.
The study found that the participants were up to twice as likely to receive an accurate positive result if they got tested in the middle of the day and not at night.