Scientists warn about dangers of testing for COVID before Thanksgiving gatherings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thanksgiving is near.

If you’re thinking about buying an at-home COVID-19 test to rule out an infection before your holiday gathering, you might want to save your time and money. 

Scientists in the Netherlands had health care professionals collect nasal swabs of 3,600 asymptomatic people 16 and older at three different testing sites. Each site collected swabs using a different brand of rapid COVID test. After the swab, participants were sent home to complete the rest of the test on their own.  

Findings showed results from all three resulted in a false negative an estimated 75% of the time. 

Self-testing “has limited value for asymptomatic individuals wishing to protect vulnerable persons,” authors write in the paper. “One should be aware of this, and better informed about other prevention options such as physical distancing or mask use.”

The study was published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection.