A result of “Not Detected” indicates that SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was not found in your biological specimen that was submitted for testing. This means it is very unlikely that you had a COVID-19 infection at the time you took this test.
However, there is a small chance (less than 5%) that this test produced a false negative, meaning that the test indicated that you do not have an infection when you actually do.
A false negative can occur if:
- Your exposure to COVID-19 was recent
- Your viral loads are so low that they were unable to be detected by the test
- Your specimen was not collected properly as per the instructions given
In very rare cases, a false negative can occur if you are infected with a strain of SARS-CoV-2 that has undergone a mutation . This is not necessarily cause for concern. Most mutations have little to no impact on the severity or contagion level of a disease.
If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you may want to reach out to your healthcare provider. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a self-checking tool that can help you decide if you need to seek medical care.