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Numbers Needed

There are limited data available on the accuracy of the two rapid COVID-19 tests the UK plans to roll out, New Scientist reports.

Last week, the UK Department of Health and Social Care announced it would be supplying two new rapid COVID-19 tests, one from DnaNudge and one from Oxford Nanopore, that can not only detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but also the flu and other respiratory illnesses, to hospitals, care homes, and labs. But virologists in the UK have opined they were left out of the decision process that led to the selection of these tests, and the Guardian reported little is known about how the new tests work.

"I'd never heard of these two tests," the University of Birmingham's Jon Deeks, who has been studying rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests, tells New Scientist. He and his team had only found independent data on Cepheid's Xpert Xpress test and Abbott's ID NOW that had been published before June, it adds.

New Scientist reports DnaNudge and Oxford Nanopore say they have validated their tests' accuracy, though the data has not yet been published. Deeks tells it that the tests appear promising, but more data is needed to better assess them.

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