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In the UK, primary to secondary school students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are asked to stay out of class and self-isolate at home. Some kids now see it as an opportunity to take a 14-day vacation. So they went on TikTok and shared countless ways to fake positive COVID-19 tests to send to schools.
The goal is to fool the COVID-19 rapid test kits, and it turns out, sometimes it’s very simple: Just a drop of Coca-Cola or orange juice is enough.
The incident was discovered by a Science teacher in the UK after he saw one of his students drop orange juice on a COVID-19 rapid test kit. After that, the test kit returned 2 lines – giving a false positive result for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“The kids say it’s a great way to take 2 weeks off school“, he said. And they learned that trick on TikTok.
If you go to this social media platform and type in the search bar #fakecovidtest, the results will return hundreds of videos, with a view count of more than 6.5 million. In particular, an account @ .fakecovidtests has attracted more than 20,000 followers specializing in posting tests to fool the COVID-19 rapid test kit.
The owner of one of the accounts that upload the most videos appears to be just a British boy. In it, he tried to drip everything into the COVID-19 rapid test kit, from orange juice, lemon juice, Calpol cough medicine, Coca-Cola, Lynx deodorant to Dior perfume.
As it turns out, acidic products like carbonated drinks, sour fruit juices, vinegar, and hand sanitizer are the ones that can fool the COVID-19 test kit most effectively. And some students in the UK are actually using this trick to get their teachers to drop them off.
“We’re sure there’s a minority of students doing this“, said Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the British Association of School and College Leaders.But the vast majority of rapid test kits are still used properly.”
“However, we urge parents to make sure their children do not take advantage of rapid COVID-19 testing. We want to tell these chemistry-loving students that the best place to learn is the best place to learn. about them is in chemistry at school”.
One drop of Coca-Cola or orange juice is enough to fool a COVID-19 rapid test kit.
But why can a drop of Coca-Cola or orange juice fool a COVID-19 rapid test kit?
To know this, we must understand the working principle of the COVID-19 rapid test kit. In fact, it’s a test kit that works pretty much like a pregnancy test. Only instead of looking for HCG antibodies, this kit will look for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in your saliva or nasal fluid samples.
When using this kit, you must first mix your fluid sample into the included buffer to ensure it has an optimal pH. Then, you drop the sample into cell S, so that the solution gradually penetrates into the nitrocellulose paper strip below.
By capillary action, your specimen will gradually move up towards the T-line. This T-line contains antibodies that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and yellow antibodies. If your sample contains virus, the T line will be red, giving a positive result.
The liquid continues to flow along the capillary towards the C line, the yellow particles will make the C line red. If your specimen does not contain the virus, only the C line will appear, and the T line will not show, you are considered negative.
Now, what happened when you put a drop of Coca-Cola or orange juice in box S? The low pH of these products will affect the antibody present on the T-line, says Mark Lorch, a professor of chemical and communication science at the University of Hull.
“Orange juice has citric acid, Coca-Cola has phosphoric acid, apple juice has malic acid. These drinks all have in common is a low pH ranging from 2.5 to 4. These are quite harsh conditions for antibodies, which work in the blood with a pH of 7.4 gradually as the average. count“, Professor Lorch explained.
Under acidic conditions, the proteins that make up the antibody are positively charged, which causes them to stick to the yellow particles at the T-line and trigger a reaction that causes the red line to emerge. As a result you had a false positive test.
Just wash the T-line with the buffer that comes with the kit and the kid’s tricks will be exposed.
But Professor Lorch said the tricks of the children could be easily spotted. By just bringing the sample to the standard pH, the antibodies will automatically release the gold particles and return a negative result.
To do this, you simply wash the T line with the kit’s own buffer, and it will disappear if your specimen does not contain the virus but is in fact just a drop of Coca-Cola or orange juice.
“So kids, I applaud your ingenuity, but now I’ve found a way to uncover your cheats.“, Professor Lorch wrote to the children.
For its part, TikTok was asked to comment on these fake COVID-19 positive test videos. Their spokesperson did not respond directly to the matter, only saying:
“Our community guidelines state that we will remove content containing harmful misinformation, including medical misinformation related to COVID-19 and anti-vaccine information on the website. wider range.
Since the pandemic began, we’ve worked to give our community access to trusted information. And through the partnership with Team Halo, scientists from around the world have shared how vaccines are created, tested, and also their safety.”
Refer Theguadian, Theconversation, News
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