Tap News

Home Testing is a Waste of Time

Close up of doctor hands with protective gloves and PPE suit, showing a test device to senior patient. Review of a Rapid Antigen Test for SARS Covid-19.

Lockdown Sceptics reader has written in to flag up Dr Martin Scurr’s view of home testing in the Daily Mail

In an ideal world, all tests would be 100% accurate – but they aren’t. And when it comes to determining whether you are carrying COVID-19, you need to be able to have faith in the results.

Yet the Innova lateral flow tests, which we are told will be sent out to those with children at school or college, as well as to bus drivers and teachers, are barely fit for purpose. They were recently tried out in a mass-testing exercise in Liverpool, but failed to detect 60% of cases.

The issue lies largely with the way the test is used. I’ve never yet seen one done properly on news bulletins. The swab should be passed backwards along the floor of the nose (i.e., parallel to the soles of the feet) for about the length of a matchstick. This is unpleasant.

The proposal to increase home testing underestimates the potential harms if faulty data is collected; it will only be of value if asymptomatic people who are infectious are detected and isolated, and their contacts traced.

There is a solution to this emerging chaos: abandon the Innova tests and utilise the simple saliva test, which is widely used in Austria.

Stop Press: There’s a risk the majority of positives detected by the lateral flow tests in schools will be false, according to the Telegraph, reporting on a new paper.

Children may be wrongly kept off school because there is a risk that the “majority” of positive cases detected by the Government’s lateral flow tests “could be false positives”, experts have warned.

Ministers have distributed 57 million of the tests to schools in England as Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday declared the reopening of classrooms a “truly national effort to beat this virus”.

However Sheila Bird, a member of the Royal Statistical Society that produced a new paper on the accuracy of lateral flow tests, said on Saturday every positive quick-result test of a school pupil should be double checked with a PCR test to ensure it was accurate.

A false positive occurs when someone who doesn’t have COVID-19 is wrongly told by the test they have the virus.

The paper, published on Friday, also warns the opposite – that 60 per cent of positive cases may be missed by the tests, meaning people could be inadvertently spreading the virus among peers.

Worth reading in full.