About 43,000 people in England and Wales may have received incorrect SARS-CoV-2 test results, as GenomeWeb reports. BBC News adds that a lab in Wolverhampton has suspended testing as NHS Test and Trace investigates.
Earlier this week, the Guardian said there had been a spate of reports that some people with positive SARS-CoV-2 results by lateral flow testing then had negative PCR test results, even as some of those individuals had COVID-19 symptoms. It noted that while it was possible lateral flow tests were picking up a different, seasonal coronavirus or a new SARS-CoV-2 variant that PCR testing missed was possible, these scenarios were unlikely and that the increase in discrepant results instead more likely pointed to an issue in the PCR testing process.
Jenny Harries from NHS Test and Trace and the UK Health Security Agency tells the BBC that they are not yet sure what went wrong, but that they are conducting a detailed investigation. The BBC adds that all samples sent to Immensa Health Clinic — which the Guardian notes was established as a company in the UK in May 2020 — are being sent on to others for testing. The company chief executive, Andrea Riposati, tells Reuters the company is "fully collaborating."