Kids are often looking for clever ways to get out of school and now they’ve found a new way when it comes to Kovid-19. Children do a mock lateral flow test (LFT) using a cold drink to confirm Kovid-19 infection. How’s it going with juices, colas and mischievous kids defying the investigation? Or is it just a way to say a false confirmation from a real person? Mark Lorch, professor of communication sciences and chemistry at the University of Hull, tried to investigate these things.
Lorch said he first thought about investigating the allegations. So he opened a bottle of cola and orange juice and dropped a few drops directly on the LFT. Surprisingly, within minutes of each test, lines appeared, indicating confirmation of infection. You have to understand how these tests work. If you open the LFT device, you will find a paper-like material called nitrocellulose. Additionally, it has a small red pad which is hidden in a plastic case below the T-line. What the red pad absorbs are the antibodies, which are a sign of the Kovid-19 virus.
These devices are also attached to fine particles of gold, with the help of which we can see where these antibodies are in the device. When you do this test, you need to lay your sample on a bandage with a special type of solution. This solution spreads over the nitrocellulose strip and marks the gold and the antibodies. This solution also makes it possible to identify viruses linked to Kovid-19.
But these antibodies stick to the nitrocellulose. When the red spot of the gold-labeled antibodies crosses this second set of antibodies, they also capture the virus. The virus then settles in a line next to the T on the equipment, indicating a positive test, leaving everything, including gold.
How do cold drinks show positive on the red T line?
One possibility is that these drinks contain something that looks like an antibody that the solution cannot detect. Swabs taken from your nose and mouth contain all kinds of things, including antibody proteins and other viruses. Completely ignore the mess of leftovers from what you’ve eaten. They will therefore not react to the contents of the cold drink. Fruit juices, colas, and cold drinks have one thing in common: they are all very acidic, which is a very difficult situation for antibodies.
So … is there a way to detect a false positive test?
Antibodies are a type of protein made up of building blocks of amino acids that interact with each other to form a long, straight chain. Antibodies (like most proteins) are able to reverse themselves and regain their function when exposed to more favorable conditions. So I tried washing a cola based test kit. On the retest, the immobilized antibody acted normally and released gold particles which showed a true negative result on the test.
(Source: Mark Lorch, professor of communication sciences and chemistry at the University of Hull, The Conversation)
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Photo: Mark Lorch