Why Do Our RATs Come Up Negative Even When We’re Coughing Up The Devil Himself?

RATs RAT test negative covid not working

Do you feel like you’ve been hit with the ol’ spicy cough, but no matter how deep you put the little swab up your nussy, your RAT test returns negative? Well, it turns out there’s a reason this may be happening to you.

Now that Miss Rona has come back swinging (she never stopped swinging, to be honest), you probably know a lot of people around you getting reinfected with this nasty virus. Hell, even you might be making your second, third or even fourth visit to the warm, feverish embrace of our collective ex from 2020.

So why have our RATs suddenly become so unreliable?

Per The Guardian, every single RAT that has been independently tested in Australia is able to detect the Omicron variant of COVID, which is what’s going around right now. Unfortunately for us though, not every RAT has been independently tested yet.

If you’d like to check whether or not your brand of RATs has received multiple ticks of approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), there’s a lovely graph that lets you do so.

Keep in mind that if your brand of RATs has no ticks next to it, it might just be because it hasn’t been independently tested yet. So if you’re extra worried, maybe it’s time to hunt down some guaranteed-effective RATs.

In case you forgot because it’s been a long time since you’ve had to swab yourself, a RAT (or rapid antigen test if you’re nasty) is designed to detect viral proteins and change colours to red accordingly.

COVID is constantly shifting and changing though, so some RATs that were kick-ass back in the day may not be fully equipped to detect new variants. This is why some people feel hotter than hell, sweat lava and cough up blood, but still come back negative on their RAT.

On top of this, research suggests that if you’ve got a minor case of the Omicron variant, it probably won’t show up on your RAT test. If there’s a place near you that still offers up PCR tests and you’re feeling crook, maybe it’s time to get in the car and pay them a visit.

Stay safe out there friends and always remember to wear a mask when you can!