Coronavirus testing is available to order online. But experts warn some tests may produce a ‘false negative’ result. What could this mean for the UK?
A ‘false negative’ result means a person with coronavirus is falsely assured they do not have the virus.
But, this result means they do have coronavirus (COVID-19) and should be self isolating.
Instead, people with false negative results may be spreading the virus to others, unaware.
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Virologist Lawrence Young, who works at Warwick University, stated: “Around 30 percent of results are a false negative.
“That means for every 100 people you test that are positive, 30 will come out as negative.”
The infectious disease expert continued: “False negatives are for several reasons, but probably the main reason is a sampling error.
“It’s always concerned me and many colleagues there is an issue with swabbing and I think some errors will creep in.”
Incorrect sampling could easily be done as home testing kits may not be accurately followed by everyone.
And it’s not just the NHS who are providing home testing kits, commercial companied are too.
The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test requires a throat swab sample to see if you’re currently infected.
Once the sample is collected, it’s sent off to a laboratory.
The correct swab technique is supposed to provide 99.9 percent accuracy – still leaving a tiny margin for error.
And this doesn’t take into account the people who may accidentally do the swab incorrectly.
The COVID-19 antibody testing kit is used to detect whether somebody has been exposed to the virus.
There’s is still debate within the scientific community whether or not exposure means somebody is now immune to the virus.
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Commercial companies are offering the antibody test for people willing to pay.
The finger prick blood test collects a sample of blood to be sent off to a laboratory.
Again, it claims to have 99.9 percent sensitivity for the presence of antibodies.
A professor in medicine and infectious diseases at the University of East Anglia weight in.
Professor Paul Hunter said: “You get a lot of false negatives with the PCR test.
“What I’m worried about is if you’ve got symptoms, and the test comes back as negative, you can go out.
“A wrong result could lead to wider spread, particularly if the person is a super spreader.”
The NHS confirm the main symptoms of COVID-19 to be aware of are a new, continuous cough and a high temperature.
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