Shoutout To This TikTok Dr, Who Explained Why You Might Be Getting A False Negative RAT Result

A doctor on TikTok has explained why you might be producing a false negative on your rapid antigen test (aka the RATty boys), which is incredibly handy info if you’ve been told you need to get tested. It’s also great timing, because NSW and Vic have recently changed their guidelines around reporting positive RATs.

The Good Doctor in question is Dr Michael Mrozinski, a GP based in Melbourne with a platform of over 220,000 followers.

Basically, he explained in a TikTok that when you’re doing an RAT or a lateral flow test, you should swab the back of your throat as well as your nostrils.

“Everybody always remembers to do the nostrils, but don’t forget to do the back of the throat or else you might get a false negative,” he said.

In a caption on the vid, he said that said that an early Omicron infection can be present in the throat, and but not in your nose. If you’re just swabbing your nose but have the Omicron variant, there’s a chance that the RAT won’t pick it up and you’ll get a false negative.

To increase your chances of getting an accurate RAT result, make sure you’re hitting both possible virus hot spots.

@dr_michael_says Don’t forget this! #lateralflow #rat #swab #covid #omicron #medical ♬ original sound – Doctor Michael

Mrozinski’s advice tracks with recommendations from the UK’s National Health Service, too. In its official instructions for administering an RAT, it says to swab the back of your throat – specifically both of your tonsils – before doing your nostrils.

So, if you’ve only been swabbing your nose while doing an RAT, make like Cardi B and don’t forget to hit the back of your throat (your tonsils though, not the dangly thing) to help avoid a false negative.

As a general rule, RATs are most effective at picking up COVID-19 when you’re symptomatic, because your viral load is higher.

Dr Chris Moy, the Australian Medical Association’s vice president, told the ABC that RATs are less likely to pick up COVID-19 at the very start or end of an infection.

“What [they are] very good at is picking up whether you’re in the infectious phase. That means the time you’re actually likely to be shedding the virus and actually spreading it to other people.”

New guidelines for RATs in both Victoria and NSW were announced this week, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting as accurate an RAT result as possible.

On Friday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that you no longer need to get a positive RAT confirmed with a PCR test, unless you meet some specific requirements.

So, if you’re symptomatic and test positive on an RAT, you’re a confirmed case and need to follow the iso guidelines. The same goes if you’re a household or high risk contact who tests positive, regardless of whether you’re symptomatic or not.

If you test positive, aren’t symptomatic, and don’t have any known contact to a positive case, you should take another RAT in 24 hours or get a PCR test.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, from the middle of next week if you get a positive RAT you’ll need to log it on the Service NSW app, where it’ll be counted in the daily case numbers.

There are similar rules in Victoria, where it’s now mandatory to report a positive RAT. You can do it over the phone, or via an online form on the Victorian Department of Health website.

The form contains nine questions, including ones about whether you’re symptomatic and if you’ve been told that you’ve been in contact with a COVID-19 case. If you answer no to both, it’s recommended you get a PCR test.

The rules and guidelines have gone through a hell of a lot of changes in recent weeks, which can deffo be overwhelming. That being said, info like Dr Mrozinksi’s is helpful AF as the government increasingly moves towards RATs.

So when you’re getting tested, don’t neglect that throat tickle, babes.