Covid-19: Lateral Flow Tests - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:28 am on 10 February 2022.

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Photo of Lord Kamall Lord Kamall The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 11:28, 10 February 2022

I should perhaps start with some background on this and why we have reached the situation we are in. Her Majesty’s Government began the large-scale procurement of Covid-19 test kits at the height of the pandemic. To ensure supplies for the universal testing offer, Porton Down assesses tests offered to Government. It found that three-quarters of those offered failed to meet their stated performance in their instructions for use. For most testing technology, the manufacturer needed only to do self-assessment to meet the CE marking rules, but clearly, when they were tested, they were not meeting those standards. We considered that the current standard was insufficient and did not keep bad tests off the market. That is why we had a public consultation in April that showed strong support for a more rigorous regime. In terms of avoiding a cliff edge, as it were, if they have not been validated, we are looking at solutions.