COVID-19 FAQ: How Common Are False Positives?

Q: How common are false positives?
A: False positives are unlikely for the molecular diagnostic tests that diagnose COVID-19. This is because these tests work by detecting genetic material from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 is different than the genetic material from other viruses, so the COVID-19 diagnostic test is highly specific. Usually claims of “false positives” occur when someone tests positive without symptoms and then soon tests again – and the test is negative. This doesn’t mean either test is wrong. People are not chronically infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s normal and expected to go from testing positive back to testing negative. For more information visit:

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