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Covid-19: Innova lateral flow test is not fit for “test and release” strategy, say experts

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 17 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4469

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  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The government has claimed that rapid lateral flow covid-19 tests, which are being used in mass testing pilots in England and can provide results in 30 minutes, are “accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community,” after evaluation results were published.1

However, experts warn that the tests may miss as many as half of covid-19 cases, depending on who is using them—making them unsuitable for a “test and release” strategy to enable people to leave lockdown or to allow students to go home from university.

The ongoing assessment, carried out by Public Health England’s Porton Down laboratory and the University of Oxford, tested a number of lateral flow devices in different settings including hospitals, schools, and universities.

The Innova SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test, which has been used in the Liverpool mass testing pilot to detect infections,2 is the …

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