Chaos in Liverpool as rapid Covid-19 test officials hoped to use in mass-swabbing scheme starting today doesn’t work and officials abandon it at the 11th hour
- The 20-minutes test planned to form part of ‘Operation Moonshot’ programme
- Trials have been scaled back due to accuracy concerned of the OptiGene test
- Scientists found high proportion of positive samples would go undetected
Operation Moonshot has come crashing down to Earth in Liverpool as one of the rapid coronavirus tests that was lined up for a mass-testing scheme has been revealed not to work.
Officials in the city have now rowed back on plans to start a huge trial of Optigene Direct RT-Lamp tests, which were bought because they give swab results in just 20 minutes.
But, catastrophically, the tests have missed more than 50 per cent of positive cases in a trial in Manchester, meaning they risk dangerously undermining the number of people who are actually infected.
Trials in Salford were scaled back after just six weeks, in part due to concerns about the accuracy of the OptiGene Lamp test, according to The Guardian.
Greater Manchester’s Mass Testing Expert Group raised concerns about the accuracy of the test, which is favoured in hospitals because of its quick turnaround of results.
The test, which gives results in 20 minutes, was planned to form part of an ‘Operation Moonshot’ mass-testing programme in the city (stock picture)
But earlier trials in Salford were scaled back after just six weeks, in part due to concerns about the accuracy of the OptiGene Lamp test (stock picture)
The scientists reported a ‘sensitivity’ of just 46.7 per cent and found that ‘a high proportion of samples collected from infected individuals in a ‘real world’ setting would not be detected’.
The findings raise major questions about one of the main tests in the Government’s mass-screening strategy, which Boris Johnson this week heralded as the UK’s main route back to normality.
However, a spokesman for the Department of Health last night said the apparently alarming results of the Lamp test were based on one small trial.
Liverpool City Council said that it had decided not to use the test.