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article imagePoor dental care is affecting accuracy of COVID-19 test kits

By Tim Sandle     Aug 14, 2020 in Health
A new study finds that a failure to maintain good oral hygiene can interfere with COVID-19 tests. This is specifically with clinically recovered COVID-19 people, who continuing to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 for longer periods of time.
In addition to sputum and oropharyngeal secretions, saliva has reported as a reliable indicator for the detection of SARS‐CoV‐2. In addition, the role of saliva in COVID-19 diagnosis could not be limited to a qualitative detection of the virus, but it may also provide information about the clinical evolution of the disease. Given the importance of this method of coronavirus screening, maintaining good oral health was hypothesized as a factor in affecting the reliability of virus test results.
The research found that most of the patients with COVID‐19 had a viral shedding period of 30 days or less. In cases of prolonged viral shedding ( more than 44 days), non-infectious viral nucleic acid appears to have accumulated in uncleaned oral cavities and this material then continued to be detected.
In other words, those subjects studied who did not keep their teeth clean continued to shed the virus for an additional two weeks. This led to more positive real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests being recorded, as Lab Pulse reports.
To counter-act this effect the authors have proposed that tooth brushing and gargling are practiced in order to remove this viral nucleic acid and hence improve the accuracy of PCR testing, avoiding continued false positive test results.
The reason for this could be due to a relationship between oral bacteria 9as biofilms) and viral infections. This relates to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension -being the primary risk factors (or comorbidities) associated with increased complications from COVID-19.
The findings are published in the journal Special Care in Dentistry. The research paper is titled "Effects of oral care on prolonged viral shedding in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19)."
More about oral care, Covid19, Dentistry, Teeth
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