Experts Claim CT Scans For COVID-19 Diagnosis is Flawed
By Dan Elton  |  Jan 10, 2022
Experts Claim CT Scans For COVID-19 Diagnosis is Flawed
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As the novel coronavirus evolved from epidemic to pandemic, early research suggested CT scans provided the best diagnosis for COVID-19. It turns out that the information was flawed. Data scientist and Google Scholar Dan Elton takes a closer look at the studies published.

SOMERVILLE, MASSACHUSETTS - On February 26, 2020, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) put out a press release proclaiming ‘CT (computed tomography) Provides Best Diagnosis for COVID-19.’ The announcement was quickly picked up by news outlets such as Science DailyEurekaAlert, and a number of other medical news sites.

Collage from Luke Oakden-Rayner


The lead in the RSNA’s press release states: 

“In a study of more than 1,000 patients published in the journal Radiology, chest CT outperformed lab testing in the diagnosis of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The researchers concluded that CT should be used as the primary screening tool for COVID-19.”

They then go on to note: 

“...recent research found that the sensitivity of CT for COVID-19 infection was 98 percent compared to RT-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) sensitivity of 71 percent.”

This statement aroused some skepticism. How could CT provide a better test result than PCR if most COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic? Do people with asymptomatic COVID-19 have abnormalities in their lungs? 

Radiologist Dr Luke Oakden-Rayn

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