FACT FINDERS: How accurate are tests at detecting Omicron?

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 8:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With COVID cases soaring, could there be even more cases out there that tests are not picking up on? KOLD spoke with a local expert about just how accurate our tests really are at detecting the new omicron variant.

As new variants emerge, we have been using the same tests. However, a variant is a variant because it mutated which means it looks different to your immune system and to tests. So, how well are our current tests doing at accurately detecting omicron? Dr. Sean Elliott with Tucson Medical Center weighs in.

”Omicron is significantly different than delta was, than beta and alpha were before that. And the sensitivity, the ability of our antigen tests to pick up Omicron variant is not as good as it was against delta. However, increasing numbers of our tests out there are being tested against omicron and they’re found to still be good, not great, but good,” he said.

So, Dr. Elliott says if you got a positive result from an antigen test, that is a real positive. If you got a negative result but still have all the symptoms and had COVID exposure, he says you should repeat the test or get a PCR test to be sure.

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