Confirmatory PCR testing after a positive lateral flow test for COVID-19 is no longer required for asymptomatic individuals in the UK, the Guardian reports.
According to the Guardian, the UK Health Security Agency says the change in guidance reflects both the accuracy of the tests and the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive on lateral flow tests must still self-isolate for at least a week and report their results to a government website, the Guardian adds.
The UKHSA notes that tests using lateral flow devices (LFDs) can effectively spot the virus among asymptomatic individuals and have an accuracy of 80 percent in identifying people with high viral loads -- people who are the most infectious to others. "While cases of COVID continue to rise, this tried-and-tested approach means that LFDs can be used confidently to indicate COVID-19 infection without the need for PCR confirmation," Jenny Harries, UKHSA's chief executive, says in a statement.
The Guardian notes there are exceptions to this new guidance. Symptomatic individuals, for instance, must still take a PCR test and self-isolate. Additionally, people participating in certain research or tracing programs must still seek a PCR test, as should people at high risk of severe disease who may be eligible for certain new treatments, the agency adds.