What Happened: On December 14th the World Health Organization (WHO) released a notice on their website titled “WHO Information Notice for IVD Users” regarding “nucleic acid testing (NAT) technologies that use real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of SARS-CoV-2.”
WHO has received user feedback on an elevated risk for false SARS-CoV-2 results when testing specimens using RT-PCR reagents on open systems.As with any diagnostic procedure, the positive and negative predictive values for the product in a given testing population are important to note. As the positivity rate for SARS-CoV-2 decreases, the positive predictive value also decreases. This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as positivity rate decreases, irrespective of the assay specificity. Therefore, healthcare providers are encouraged to take into consideration testing results along with clinical signs and symptoms, confirmed status of any contacts, etc.
In it they state that people who test positive for COVID-19 may not actually have COVID-19, known as false positives. They state the following,
The idea that some people who test positive for COVID-19 may not actually have COVID-19 has been a common theme during this pandemic as many scientists and doctors have called into question the efficacy of the test for declaring a pandemic. For example, 22 researchers have put out a paper explaining why, according to them, it’s quite clear that the PCR test is not effective in for identifying COVID-19 cases. As a result we may be seeing a significant amount of false positives. False negatives are also a possibility. They claim that the test is completely useless for detecting COVID-19.
Link to Official WHO source https://www.who.int/news/item/14-12-2020-who-information-notice-for-ivd-users