Improper handling test kits may have led to false positives at Mukdahan school
The false positive results produced by COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits (ATKs) at Khamsoi Pittayasan School, in Thailand’s north-eastern province of Mukdahan, may be due to improper testing or storage of the ATKs, said Department of Disease Control (DDS) Director-General Opart Karnkawinpong today (Friday).
He disclosed that provincial health officials conducted mass COVID-19 testing using four brands of ATKs on 1,106 students and staff at the school, after 14 teachers and three students produced positive ATK results.
He said the mass testing showed positive results in 87. Health officials then conducted random tests on two of the 87 using their own test kits, which showed negative results.
He added that officials then decided to conduct RT-PCR tests on the rest of those who tested positive with ATKs, which confirmed that none of them were actually infected. All of them were sent home, while being advised to be alert to any development of symptoms and to see a doctor immediately if any appear.
Dr. Opart admitted that the reopening of schools for on-site learning will certainly lead to an increase in COVID-19 infections, but the problem will be manageable, citing the case of Khamsoi Pittayasan School.
Reopening of schools will, in fact, build confidence, he noted.
The inspector-general of the Education Ministry, said that the ATKs used by the school were donated and approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration, but the false results may stem from lack of skills among the officials who conducted the tests.
The school, however, has suspended on-site learning and has opted for online learning until November 11th.