A new study published on Monday suggests that young people in Greece are using social media to share information about fake covid-19 tests in order to test positive.
Since July 1, videos of young people sharing information on how to cheat rapid tests for covid to get positive results with soda have gone viral. This prompted researchers at the University of Liverpool to investigate whether there is any validity to the claim that artificial sweeteners used in carbonated drinks could change negative coronavirus results to positive ones. The results of their study, which is still awaiting peer review, were presented to medRxiv on Monday.
Fake positive covid-19 tests
Videos of teenagers mimicking positive covid-19 test results have gone viral in the UK, where a single case of coronavirus in school can often lead to all classmates of a diagnosed student having to be isolated at home.
In the UK, schools have made it mandatory for students to test themselves for coronavirus twice a week, similar to what was adopted by the Greek government. Some teens decided that bogus positives were good because they let them and their friends skip school for about ten days and hang out instead. However, this can be devastating to learning as students miss classes for several days due to false information.
Videos with the hashtag “#fakecovidtest” are constantly being uploaded to social media showing children pouring various rapid antigen test fluids in an attempt to test positive.
University of Liverpool Study
Studyconducted by scientists at the University of Liverpool showed that soda can be used to mimic rapid tests for COVID-19. Researchers first ruled out the artificial sweetener because four different types of sweetener and spring water tested negative on swabs. However, when researchers began testing sodas, the results became a little more alarming.
Ten of the fourteen carbonated drinks tested gave positive or slightly positive results. However, researchers found it difficult to determine which ingredient triggers this reaction, as there doesn’t seem to be an obvious link between the test results and the ingredients in soft drinks.
Greece uses coronavirus self-test program
Although Greek schools go on summer vacation much earlier than UK schools, the coronavirus testing protocol in both systems is very similar. This means that when schools in Greece reopen in September, they may be vulnerable to the same false positive covid-19 tests that have been popularized on social media in the UK.
Self-test kits are available free of charge to those eligible for them at any pharmacy. The test is carried out upon presentation of the child’s or parent’s valid AMKA social security number. With the self-test kit, recipients are given written instructions on how to properly collect the sample. Test results must be announced no later than 24 hours before attending classes. To do this, students and teachers need to upload their test results to online platform…
Self-test registration in AMKA is performed in real time in order to avoid distribution of several tests to the same person by different pharmacies. Self-diagnostics are quickly identifiable nasal swab tests (using a nasal swab instead of the nasopharynx / mouth instead of the pharynx) performed at home. They do not require the supervision of a healthcare professional.
All students and staff are expected to conduct self-tests twice a week to guard against the coronavirus.