Rice College Says Virus Check Glitch Induced False Positives

Rice College, the place greater than 95 % of scholars are vaccinated, introduced a transfer to distant courses final week after testing confirmed an alarmingly excessive variety of group members with breakthrough coronavirus infections.

These outcomes, the college now says, have been badly distorted by a testing glitch.

Of 4,500 exams administered on the Rice campus, 81 had returned optimistic outcomes, principally in vaccinated members of Rice’s group. Even in Houston, the place the Delta variant was surging, the outcomes have been a shock. Rice had taken powerful efforts to regulate coronavirus in its group, virtually demanding that college students, college and employees be vaccinated, even because the state of Texas prohibited vaccination mandates. The college additionally required masks.

Additional examination revealed that the general public who appeared to have examined optimistic have been really unfavourable for the virus, the college now says.

When Rice started to look at the instances, it discovered that the outcomes didn’t make sense, based on a observe to the college group on Sunday from Kevin E. Kirby, vice chairman for administration at Rice. The general public who examined optimistic didn’t have any signs. And the instances have been scattered, with no clusters.

Rice found that the testing supplier that reported so many optimistic outcomes had simply switched to utilizing a brand new check. When 50 of the individuals who examined optimistic have been retested utilizing several types of exams, all however one of many outcomes got here again unfavourable.

All the identical, Rice says that it plans to stay with its choice to maneuver to distant studying till Sept. 3. Based on a college Covid dashboard, Rice now considers solely 27 of the 4,500 exams administered on campus since Aug. 13 to have yielded true optimistic outcomes, not 81.

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