Experts say the PCR tests specifically identify the RNA sequences that make up the virus’ genetic material.
CHARLOTTE, NC – Colds and COVID-19 can cause similar symptoms, including congestion, headaches, and chills. With that in mind, we got this question from a viewer, Stan, who asked if it is true that colds can cause a positive COVID-19 test result?
Can colds cause a positive COVID-19 test results?
Although cold and COVID-19 can cause similar symptoms, the Mayo Clinic said the difference is that COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 viruswhile colds are most often caused by rhinovirus.
The COVID-19 tests are very specific and sensitive to the COVID-19 itself. According to the CDC, both PCR tests and home tests will tell you if you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
The PCR tests specifically identify the RNA sequences that make up the genetic material of the virus. Home tests, also known as rapid or antigen tests, are designed to detect proteins from the specific virus that causes COVID-19.
BionexNow produces COVID-19 tests at home. The box specifically states that it is only approved for the detection of proteins from SARAS-CoV-2, not for other viruses or pathogens.
So we can confirm that no, colds can not cause a positive COVID-19 test result.
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