Experts have called for an end to the use of rapid coronavirus tests in universities and care homes, after government figures from Comprehensive test program in Liverpool Tests revealed 30% lost Those with a high viral load.
The numbers showed that rapid tests identified only five out of 10 positive cases that were discovered through standardized tests for Coronavirus, and seven out of 10 infected with high amounts of the virus.
Rapid tests, also known as side flow tests, provide results much faster than standard tests. This speed led to it being used in care homes to allow family members to visit, and in universities to allow students to do so Come home for Christmas.
Alison Pollock, a professor of public health at Newcastle University, called for an end to the use of rapid tests in universities and care homes, saying it gave “false reassurance”.
“Group exams should be stopped, and students should be provided reasonable advice about symptoms and contact tracing,” she said. “Lateral flow tests are not designed for use on healthy people without symptoms in the community, as described in information sheets from the manufacturers.”
Bullock also criticized the government for “burying” the statistics in a broader document on community testing. The statistics were mentioned in just one sentence in a government document of 8,000 words about the community test.
What’s really worrisome is that the government has yet to publish the comprehensive test evaluation in the Liverpool They carry some major findings about the high percentage of false negatives, so they concealed this exceptional statement in the appendix. “
Professor John Dix of the University of Birmingham said the extensive use of rapid tests “puts people at risk”.
He said, “It’s not that if you have a negative result from the tests, you don’t have Covid.” “Everything says you have to confirm it with PCR tests.” The PCR swab test widely used in the UK is seen as the gold standard for detecting the virus but the results take longer.
Dr Sian Taylor-Phillips, a professor of population health at the University of Warwick, said she was extremely concerned that care homes “could allow entry to people who are infected”.
“What worries me in all places is whether we are honest with people who are still contagious, and that we are not fair because we know that they are putting their relatives at risk,” she said.
“There is an urgent need for an adequate report on the Liverpool results,” she added.
Professor Martin Mackie of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a member of the Independent Sage, said he would be “very cautious about their use in care homes” and insisted that “no one should rely on a single test.”
However, he said the rapid tests could be effective in certain circumstances.
“With PCR tests, it can take several days from deciding to take a test to getting results, and if people don’t separate between them, it is best to have a test that’s less sensitive and much faster. But the ideal thing is to do a PCR test. Hurry up. “Rapid tests have a role, but it has to be the right turn.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Care said: “The nation’s top scientists have evaluated and confirmed the accuracy of tests for the Asymptomatic Test.
With up to a third of individuals infected with Covid-19 not showing symptoms, expanding testing to identify those who are asymptomatic and who can infect people without their knowledge will mean finding positive cases faster and breaking chains of transmission.
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson said those who underwent a rapid test were also offered a confirmatory PCR test, and that other safeguards were in place for a city care home test pilot, including wearing personal protective equipment and prohibiting touching others.
“This has always been a prototype, not only for locating the virus in a city, but also for learning about different testing techniques and different testing strategies,” the spokesperson said. “The University of Liverpool and the national public health agencies are working with us to assess how best to use the tests, and we are taking a careful approach with additional preventive measures in place.”