HEALTH officials are warning the public of a worrying online trend where people have been using fruit juice to make it appear as if they have coronavirus.

It appears that fruit juice has been used to produce false positive results using rapid COVID-19 tests.

Video clips have been shared on social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat in recent weeks displaying how to ‘fake’ the result of a lateral flow test (LFT).

It is believed this ‘false positive’ is achieved due to the highly acidic nature of the beverage causing the test to break, leaving a positive result behind.

Similar results are believed to be achieved through fizzy drinks too.

Dr Giri Shankar, an incident director at Public Health Wales, said: “Using the right specimen type and clear adherence to the instructions on how to use lateral flow devices (LFD) properly, is essential to get the right outcome for any testing modality.

“In the case of lateral flow devices, the right sample to use is a swab from throat or nose or saliva. If other products are used, this will lead to invalid results. Clearly, we would strongly encourage people to not do this.”

The Leader:

Strong citrus acid is thought to 'break' the lateral flow tests used to identify COVID-19.

Dr Shankar says that there is no evidence at present that such ‘false positive’ results have been recorded in Wales.

He adds: “Public Health Wales does not hold relevant data and cannot therefore comment on if there is widespread use of non-validated specimen use for lateral flow tests.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We urge everyone to use these tests as they are intended and not to report false results.”

The latest figures for Wales have been rising in recent weeks due to the surge in cases of the Delta variant.

On June 25, over 330 new cases of the coronavirus have been identified across Wales. Since records began earlier this month, the total number of Delta cases in Wales stands at 788.