The National Football League’s COVID-19 testing partner BioReference Laboratories claims to have identified “isolated contamination,” which resulted in dozens of false-positive test results over the weekend.
The New Jersey-based private laboratory launched an investigation when inaccurate results to 77 tests were detected. According to Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Director of BioReference Laboratories, the case has been connected to specimen preparation, one of four possible instances that led to false positives.
Cohen announced that all 77 players and team officials in questionable status have already tested negative since then. He added that the lab’s investigation “indicated that these were most likely false-positive results, caused by isolated contamination during test preparation in the New Jersey laboratory.”
However, the blunder took a toll on various teams’ preparation and practice sessions, most notably Buffalo Bills. They sorely missed quarterback Josh Allen in training after not receiving a clearance to participate.
“On August 22, BioReference Laboratories reported an elevated number of positive COVID-19 PCR test results for NFL players and personnel at multiple clubs… Reagents, analyzers, and staff were all ruled out as possible causes, and subsequent testing has indicated that the issue has been resolved. All individuals impacted have been confirmed negative and informed.”Jon R. Cohen, M.D., Executive Director of BioReference Laboratories
Eleven NFL teams have been affected by the false positive outcomes of coronavirus testing. Among the squads that the BioReference has examined are the Bills, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The inaccurate results have also raised concerns over the effectiveness of the testing program. Only one percent among NFL players have tested positive from the virus.
“Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positive tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey,” the NFL said in a statement on Sunday. “We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests.
The league is upbeat that no actual outbreak has occurred thus far. However, a positive result to a player or staff member might spell a heavy implication to a team’s total performance. If tested positive, regardless of whether it is a false one, it is required to test negative twice before getting a green light to participate.
BioReference, one of the five labs contracted by NFL across the country to conduct coronavirus testing, also holds testing contracts with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).
Meanwhile, the NFL season is scheduled to kick off in two weeks.