To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether pooled sample testing for covid-19 is being used in (a) the UK and (b) areas of the UK where covid-19 infections are deemed to be recorded as low; and what assessment he has made of the contribution of experiences of pooled sample testing in (i) Uruguay, (ii) Rwanda, (iii) the US, (iv) Germany, (v) South Korea and (vi) India to (A) increasing the understanding of the covid-19 pandemic spread and (B) reducing the number of covid-19 required to help reduce that pandemic spread.
A clinical validation study has commenced at a small number of testing sites, which aims to clinically validate pooling for use on the National Testing Programme. There is also a programme about to begin at Cambridge University that we plan to monitor closely. All individuals are asked in advance if they would like to take part in this clinical validation study with the context and reasoning for the study provided. The test result for the individual is unaffected by the clinical validation study being performed.