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Tens of thousands of people infected with coronavirus were incorrectly given the all clear by England’s Lighthouse Laboratories, a High Court trial will be told next week.
Court documents seen by The Independent show the labs are accused of unfairly selecting software that was shown in a test to produce significant numbers of errors and false negatives, samples that should have been positive or classed as needing to be re-taken.
The two companies behind the Lighthouse Labs in England – Medicines Discovery Catapult Ltd and UK Biocentre Ltd – are accused of treating British company, Diagnostics.ai unfairly and giving preferential treatment to Belgian company UgenTec, despite the British firm’s software performing better in the test.
The case, first revealed by The Independent in June, also includes a judicial review of the procurement decision against health secretary Matt Hancock – one of the first court hearings over the procurement processes followed by the government since the start of the pandemic.
The Independent understands lawyers for Diagnostics.ai will accuse the laboratories of choosing a software solution that went on to produce tens of thousands of incorrect results which will have led to infected people going about their normal lives while at risk of spreading the virus.
In June, UgenTec chief executive Steven Verhoeven told The Independent the suggestion its software had made errors was “incorrect”.
The Department of Health refused to comment on the legal action but said in June that the UgenTec software had been used for several months and was subject to quality assurance processes, though it did not give any further details.
Mr Justice Fraser will hear opening arguments in the case on Monday at the High Court.