Most of us have experienced a COVID-19 test once, twice, or even multiple times over the course of the pandemic. Accurate test results allow us to know what safety precautions to take when out in public.
But new research shows the time of day you take your COVID test may play a factor in your results.
“We may be getting a lot of false negative results,” explained Ben Stobbe, Assistant Vice Chancellor for EXCEL Clinical Stimulation.
According to research by Vanderbilt University, the time of day you take your COVID test may play a role in how accurate your test results are. The researchers found COVID test results were up to two times as likely to have an accurate positive test result if they tested in the middle of the day compared to night.
That’s because COVID-19 virus shedding, or when infected cells release infectious virus particles into the blood and mucus, appear to be more active in the middle of the day due to the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
Their research found that COVID-19 viral loads tend to be lower after 8 p.m., so a COVID test after that time can lead to inaccurate results, which can have negative consequences.
“A false negative out in the community could allow somebody to go out and be a little bit more free,” continued Stobbe.
And not take the proper precautions to keep COVID from spreading.
COVID-19 is not the only virus to be affected by a host’s circadian rhythm. Past research has found other viruses and bacterial infections, such as malaria, Zika, and even Hepatitis C can be greatly impacted by your body’s internal clock.