AACC advises against Ct values for COVID patient care

2021 07 09 19 07 9528 Covid 19 Patient Gurney 400

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) recently issued a public statement advising against using coronavirus test cycle threshold (Ct) values to guide COVID-19 patient care, citing a lack of conclusive data.

The association said that even though Ct values correlate with the amount of virus in specific specimens, studies have not established a relationship between Ct values and a patient's overall viral load or infectiousness.

In addition, they said there are also numerous factors aside from the amount of virus in a specimen that can affect the Ct values generated during coronavirus testing, such as the age of patients, test instruments used, and whether patients blow their nose before sample collection.

If clinical laboratories decide to report Ct values to clinicians who request them, the association recommends that labs include a prominent comment with every report explaining that the use of Ct values to guide patient management is discouraged and why.

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