Rapid Test not a success, UK concerned about accuracy : Report

Rapid Test not a success, UK concerned about accuracy : Report

Rapid Test not a success, UK concerned about accuracy : Report

Written by Staff Writer

05 Dec, 2020 | 11:20 pm

Colombo (News 1st); According to the Independent news website in UK, Rapid Covid tests are failing to identify up to 50 per cent of positive infections in the UK.

The Independent news website of the UK quoted its own government’s analysis on COVID-19 lateral flow tests, also known as COVID-19 rapid tests.

According to the British Medical Journal which quoted the UK government’s own policy paper, the lateral flow devices used in the community testing pilot in Liverpool only picked up half the covid-19 cases detected by PCR tests and missed three out of 10 cases with higher viral loads.

According to the Independent UK plans were in place across the UK for care homes to use the rapid tests to enable people to see their relatives and even briefly pause social distancing during visits, as students also began to head home at the opening of the travel window.

British Medical Journal said Given the low sensitivity of the lateral flow devices when used in the field, experts are questioning how they can be used to allow care home residents to have contact with relatives over Christmas safely or for students to know for certain that they are not infected before returning home.

Independent UK reported that However, the failure of the devices to pick up enough cases has raised the risk of asymptomatic Covid carriers bringing the virus into care homes, or back to their family.

The report said Experts have called into question the suitability and safety of the devices.

A document released by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) read: “In the field evaluation in Liverpool, compared to PCR tests, these tests picked up 5 out of 10 of the cases PCR detected and more than 7 out of 10 cases with higher viral loads, who are likely to be the most infectious, said the Independent.

British medical journal quotes Jon Deeks, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Birmingham saying, “These results are devastating—they are missing a third of those with high viral loads. How can these tests be used for safe entry into care homes, for healthcare workers to safely return to work, or for the safe return of students? They are not fit for purpose.”

Speaking further about Rapid Covid tests on the Independent UK professor Jon Deeks said “This test is not fit for purpose for the BRTISH government’s plans. It is totally unsafe to use these tests to decide somebody does not have Covid nor ‘infectious. If it were a drug surely this would warrant an immediate withdrawal from use.”

Independent UK reported PCR tests – which require laboratory processing – are widely considered the gold standard, and are offered to people who have symptoms of Covid-19.

Professor Jon Deeks, who is also the Leader – Cochrane Collaboration’s Research into Covid-19 tests, said “the test that we have been learning for the past few weeks came on board very fast and I think it’s important that we take a sense about what we actually know about this test and how well we know that they work. They are not going to be positive until someone’s viral load gets really high and it’s often not high for very long. So it is reduced time period for any individual who will be positive for this test and they are not going to be high on everybody, there is a particular concern about asymptomatic.’

He further said, “And so we shouldn’t be telling people that they are negative, I’ve seen stories on the news of individuals who tested negative for the virus in Liverpool saying that they will visit their relatives and other people’s homes knowing that they don’t have the virus. What we should be telling them is that they have reduced risk of getting Covid and it is only a reduced risk today tomorrow it might be different and certainly next week it won’t apply,”.

According to the British Medical Journal Public health and social care directors in some areas, including Greater Manchester and Sheffield, have written to care homes warning them not to use the rapid tests until they have had more information from the government on the accuracy of the tests and training in how to use them.

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