Teenagers are using lemon juice to fake positive Covid tests to get out of school

A social media app is set to clampdown on videos showing teenagers how to fake positive Covid-19 tests to get out of school.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 10:10 am

TikTok has said that it will be removing content containing tips on how to fool lateral flow tests, according to the Evening Standard.

It comes after video ‘tutorials’ on how lemon juice can be used to fake a positive coronavirus test have been viewed millions of times on the platform.

Other substances such as fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola, kiwi fruit and apple sauce, were also used to trick lateral flow tests in clips shared on TikTok.

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An NHS Covid-19 Self-Test Kit, containing a lateral flow test. Picture: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images
An NHS Covid-19 Self-Test Kit, containing a lateral flow test. Picture: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

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One such video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on the social media platform, since being uploaded, earlier in 2021.

The i reports that independent fact checking organisation Full Fact explained that fizzy drinks and acidic fruits can break lateral flow tests and make it appear as if it is displaying a positive result.

Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading said: ‘If you completely ignore the manufacturer’s instructions or in fact use the test for something completely different, then you shouldn’t really be surprised if you get a silly result.’

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders told The i: ‘We are sure this involves a very small minority of pupils, and that for the most part the tests are used correctly.

‘However, we would urge parents to ensure that tests are not being misused, and we would suggest to pupils who are interested in chemical reactions that the best place to learn about them is in chemistry lessons in school.’

TikTok is now warning parents to check that tests weren’t being misused at home.

A spokesperson for TikTok said: ‘Our community guidelines make clear that we remove content which includes misleading information that causes harm, including medical misinformation related to Covid-19 and anti-vaccine disinformation more broadly.’

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