UK PM Boris Johnson's ambitious mass testing program fails to detect over 50% cases in crucial trial

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Nov 06, 2020, 08:33 AM(IST)

(File photo) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

This suggests that many Covid-19 carriers were wrongly told they have not contracted the disease, potentially allowing these people to spread the virus

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ambitious mass testing program 'Operation Moonshot' has failed to detect over 50 per cent of coronavirus cases in a crucial trial in Manchester and Salford last month, a report claimed. 

The 20-minute rapid test for which the Johnson administration has spent £323 m (USD 424 m) to ramp up the coronavirus testing has found only 46.7 per cent infections during the trial in Manchester and Salford last month, reports The Guardian. 

Also read | UK's Johnson under fire as new lockdown looms for England    

This suggests that many Covid-19 carriers were wrongly told they have not contracted the disease, potentially allowing these people to spread the virus. 

Also read | UK PM Johnson declares England's second stay-at-home lockdown

Experts with Greater Manchester's mass testing expert group (MTEG) has raised serious concerns this week about the accuracy of the OptiGene Direct RT-Lamp tests and was not in favour of using the test kits widely as aimed in hospitals or care homes. 

The findings came at a time when the tests will be widely carried out in a first in Liverpool on Friday. 

On Monday, the British prime minister told MPs that the government was "rolling out testing of all NHS staff as fast as we possibly can" and its intension of carrying out rapid, regular testing for care homes, hospitals, schools and universities.

In a letter, MTEG wrote that the current data shows "low sensitivity (46.7%) of the Direct RT-Lamp platform," and said the technology has raised "significant concerns", adding that the data does not back the "investment in the large scale rollout of Direct RT-Lamp saliva testing in any of the proposed clinical settings considered (hospital staff, care staff, community settings) at this time."
 

Read in App