Two new tests for COVID-19 that are said to deliver results within 90 minutes are to be introduced across NHS hospitals and care homes, to speed up diagnosis ahead of winter and differentiate coronavirus infection from flu, the government says.
But some experts were surprised by the government’s decision, saying the particular tests were not well-known. No data had been published concerning their evaluation. The government had made mistakes in buying tests that turned out to be sub-standard in the past, they said.
“Repeatedly through the pandemic the government has raced ahead purchasing tests on the basis of manufacturer’s claims, and have found later when independent studies are done that the tests do not have adequate performance for use in the NHS,” said Professor Jon Deeks from Birmingham University, part of a team who have been evaluating tests of this sort.
“We would hope that the government would wait for proper evaluations, and consider the scientific evidence for all available tests before signing further contracts. The mistakes made in test purchasing have wasted millions of pounds as well as put lives at risk.”
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Source: The Guardian, 3 August 2020