Testing inaccuracies

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 8th January 2021.

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Photo of Onkar Sahota Onkar Sahota Labour

Government-backed assessments carried out by Public Health England and the University of Oxford suggests the lateral flow rapid tests may miss as many as half of Covid-19 cases, depending on who is using them. The study found that the sensitivity of the test dropped from 79% to 58% when it was used by self-trained members of the public as opposed to laboratory scientists. Are you worried about testing accuracy for Londoners if rapid testing is made more widely available?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

It is concerning that lateral flow tests are known to miss some cases of COVID-19. However, these tests are an additional tool which detect positive cases in people who don’t have symptoms and who we wouldn’t otherwise know about. When these tests are used in combination with other vital measures such as social distancing, washing hands regularly and wearing face coverings they will help us to break chains of transmission and save lives.