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Could Miss a Few

Lateral flow tests for COVID-19 being rolled out in the UK could miss a number of cases, the Guardian reports.

The UK has signed two contracts with Innova Medical Group, which makes a saliva-based lateral flow test for COVID-19, and the firm is shipping millions of tests there, it notes. It adds that with these tests, the UK hopes to enable mass testing like it has been offering in Liverpool under a pilot program.

According to the Guardian, an evaluation of lateral flow tests by Public Health England and the University of Oxford has found that they are highly accurate, saying they have 99.6 percent accuracy. 

But the University of Birmingham's Jon Deeks tells the Guardian he disagrees with that assessment. The paper notes that at a community test center, the tests picked up 58 percent of cases, while another trial with nurses in a hospital caught 73 percent and samples sent to a testing lab caught 79 percent of cases. The Department of Health and Social Care data, Deeks tells it, "show that up to half of the COVID cases may be missed by the test, and it may give more false positives than true positives when used in mass screening."