Diane Schofield conducts a lateral flow test upon arriving at the Aspen Hill Village nursing home in Hunslet, Leeds.
Danny Lawson – PA Pictures | PA photos | Getty Images
LONDON – A battle has broken out in the UK over the use of rapid coronavirus tests – formally known as “side flow tests”.
There is a heated debate raging over its accuracy in detecting Covid-19 cases, and whether it should be introduced as a cheaper and faster way to conduct mass testing.
Self-tests can be done and detect current Covid-19 infections, and results usually appear within 30 minutes. It involves taking a swab from both nostrils, but not from the throat, and can be treated without laboratory equipment.
The British government, which wants to see lateral flow tests being rolled out in more places like schools, says the tests are accurate and reliable and allow regular testing for people who may have the virus but are not showing symptoms.
But the tests divided the scientific community, with critics saying that the tests are less accurate than the PCR tests, which are still widely viewed as the “gold standard” in terms of sensitivity and accuracy (although results tend to take more than 24 hours. Hour), and it can lead to several false negative results.
The government is keen to expand testing systems (in a strategy dubbed “Operation Moonshot”) as it could allow a faster exit from a third national lockdown that further damages the UK economy after a year of turmoil.
a Pre-reprint A government-funded study published by the University of Oxford on Thursday concluded that “side-flow devices detect the most infectious Covid-19 cases and could allow for a safer relief of the current lockdown.”
The study also confirmed that the more the virus is detected in the nose and throat (known as viral load), the more contagious the individual is: “This is the first time this has been confirmed in a large-scale study and explains part of the reason for this. The study indicated that some people transmit Covid. -19 Others do not.
As such, people with high viral loads are more likely to transmit the infection to others, making these infected individuals the most important for detection, so that they can be isolated in order to reduce future transmission.
The study said the widespread use of lateral flow tests could help capture more of those severely infected individuals who transmit the virus more easily.
The study said: “Modeling indicates that lateral flow devices will identify individuals responsible for 84% of transmissions using the four least sensitive (lateral flow) combinations tested, and 91% using the most sensitive,” although it realized that such tests were Less accurate than PCR tests.
“ Covid-19 tests that are less sensitive than the standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, but are easier to make widely available, like side-flow tests, can be a good solution to making sure that people with a high degree of infection are able to know that they need isolation faster. Allow the closure restrictions to be eased. “
“They will also allow more people to be tested with immediate results, including those who are not showing symptoms and people at an increased risk for a positive test, for example, because of their work or being in contact with themselves.”
“We know that lateral flow tests are not perfect, but that doesn’t stop them from changing the rules of the game to help detect large numbers of infectious cases fast enough to prevent further spread,” said Tim Pitto, a professor of medicine at Oxford University and the lead author of the study.
The UK government has planned to run side-flow tests in schools to conduct daily coronavirus tests among pupils between the ages of 11 and 18, in an effort to reduce the number of children and youth who have to stay home and self-isolate if they come in contact with a positive case.
However, the plan was delayed because the majority of schools took classes online with a third shutdown implemented due to the rapid rise in infections.
"Incurable communicator. General tv buff. Problem solver. Music aficionado. Pop culture trailblazer."