The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic urged immense testing capacities as one cornerstone of infection control. Many institutions opened outpatient SARS-CoV-2 test centers to allow large number of tests in comparatively short time frames. With increasing positive test rates, concerns for a possible airborne or droplet contamination of specimens leading to false-positive results were raised.
In the experimental series performed by Scheier, et al. (2021) in a dedicated SARS-CoV-2 test center, 40 open collection tubes placed for defined time periods in proximity to individuals were found to be SARS-CoV-2 negative. These findings argue against false-positive SARS-CoV-2 results due to droplet or airborne contamination., the researchers say.
Reference: Scheier T, et al. Do we cause false positives? An experimental series on droplet or airborne SARS-CoV-2 contamination of sampling tubes during swab collection in a test center. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Volume 10, Article number 51. 2021.