Lateral-flow testing implemented in the UK may miss nearly half of SARS-CoV-2 infections, the Financial Times reports.
A pilot program was rolled out last month in Liverpool through which residents were offered repeated testing for the virus using existing swab tests and new, rapid lateral flow tests, as Sky News reported at the time. But questions arose as the project began about the accuracy of the tests.
As FT reports, the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has released a report from the University of Liverpool analyzing pilot program data using the lateral flow SARS-CoV-2 antigen test from Innova. In an analysis of 3,199 patients, the Liverpool team found that the test had a sensitivity of 48.9 percent and a specificity of 99.9 percent. In particular, the researchers found that the test was better at identifying patients with a high viral load than those with lower loads.
This is in contrast to earlier data from Public Health England and the University of Oxford, FT notes, which found a sensitivity of 76.8 percent.