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15th Oct 2021

Covid test lab suspended over 43,000 wrong results

Kieran Galpin


The lab has been shut down pending a further investigation

Testing at a Wolverhampton-based laboratory has been suspended after approximately 43,000 people were allegedly given incorrect Covid-19 test results.

The lab has been suspended from testing following an investigation by NHS Test and Trace. Concerns were initially raised when patients were showing positive lateral flow tests but negative PCR results from the lab, reports the BBC.

This led to up to 43,000 people being given the wrong test results, with people in the South West affected the most.

The difference between a lateral flow test and a PCR test

Later flow tests – or LFTs – are quick-response tests used to find people with no symptoms who are still able to spread the virus.

PCR tests, however, are sent off to the lab to be analysed where they can detect the virus several weeks after infection and then trigger contact tracing. Official guidance suggests taking a PCR after a positive LFT.

Tests can never be expected to be right 100 per cent of the time – but concerns were raised after a large number of false negatives were detected.

“As a result of our investigation, we are working with NHS Test and Trace and the company to determine the laboratory technical issues which have led to inaccurate PCR results being issued to people,” said Dr Will Welfare, public health incident director at UK Health Security Agency.

Welfare continued to say that the lab was immediately shut down and their workload sent to other labs until the investigation is complete.

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