Why rapid Kovid trials are causing a stir in Britain


Diane Schofield undergoes a lateral flow test as she arrives at the Aspen Hill Village Care Home in Hanslett, Leeds.

Danny Lawson – PA Images | Pa images | Getty Images

LONDON – There has been a fight in Britain over the use of rapid coronovirus tests – formally called “lateral flow tests”.

There is a heated debate over how accurate they are in locating the Kovid-19 cases, and whether they should be rolled out as a cheaper and faster way to conduct large-scale trials.

The tests can be self-administered and detect current Kovid-19 infections, usually with results within 30 minutes. They both involve taking a swab from the nostril, but not the throat, and can be processed without laboratory equipment.

The British government, which wants to see lateral flow tests rolled out in more settings such as schools, says the tests are accurate and reliable and allow for regular testing of people who may have the virus but are asymptomatic.

But the tests have divided the scientific community, with critics saying the tests are less accurate than PCR tests, which are still widely seen as the “gold standard” in terms of sensitivity and accuracy (although the results Takes more than 24 hours.), And can lead to many false negative results.

The government is keen to expand testing arrangements (as a tactic in “Operation Moonshot”) to allow it to pull out of a third national lockdown at a faster pace that would hurt the British economy after a year of disruption Has been

Most Contagious Covid Cases

An example of a government-funded study by the University of Oxford was published on Thursday, concluding that “lateral flow devices detect the most contagious Kovid-19 cases and may allow safe relapse of current lockdowns Huh.”

The study also confirmed that the higher the viral detection in the nose and throat (known as the viral load), the more contagious the person is: “This is the first time a large-scale study has confirmed this Has been and explains part of why some people have passed Kovid-19 and others do not, ”the study noted.

As such, people with high viral loads are more likely to pass the infection on to others, making it more important to detect these infected individuals, so they can be isolated to reduce further transmission.

The study notes that the widespread use of lateral flow tests may help in taking these highly contagious individuals transmitting the virus more easily.

The study stated, “Modeling shows that lateral flow devices will identify the individuals responsible for testing the 84% least sensitive sensitive four (lateral flow) kits, and 91% will be sensitive.” Accurate compared to PCR tests.

“Kovid-19 tests that are less sensitive than standard PCR, but are easier to provide widely, such as lateral flow tests, may be a good solution to ensure that those that are highly infectious are able to detect Are they required to be separated more quickly? Lockdown may allow restrictions to be eased. “

“They will allow more people to test an immediate result that does not have symptoms and there is an increased risk of positive testing in people, for example, because they have had a job or a contact on their own.”

Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford and senior author of the study, Tim Peto, said that “we know that lateral flow tests are not perfect, but it does not prevent them from becoming game changers to help detect large numbers. Infectious.” To prevent the proliferation of cases moving fast enough. “

The UK government had planned to conduct lateral flow tests in schools to conduct daily tests for coronovirus in children aged 11 to 18, to reduce the number of children and young adults living at home and isolated. . Exposure to a positive case.

However, the plan was scrapped as most schools took lessons online with a third lockdown being implemented due to the rapid increase in infections.

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