Schoolchildren are taking lateral flow tests by the thousands to remain safe while attending school. However, the error rate of these tests is increasing by the day.
The amount of false positive coronavirus lateral flow tests has increased in secondary school children, official data show.
How did this come about?
Anecdotal evidence of children receiving a positive lateral flow and then a negative follow-up PCR have circulated on social media, the Telegraph reports. Government scientists are now looking into the causes.
Figures from Test and Trace reveal that in the week ending September 22, almost 620,000 students took lateral flow tests at home with almost 14,000 came back positive.
However, 1,112 (8 per cent) of these pupils returned a negative or void follow-up PCR, indicating the lateral test result was a false positive.
One week later, around 580,000 secondary school students took a lateral flow test and almost 16,000 were found to be positive.
But of these tests, 87 per cent (13,863) were later confirmed via PCR, with around 13 per cent coming back as negative or void.
Why are lateral flow tests showing wrong positive results?
While this may be only a mathematical coincidence, experts may need to investigate the effectiveness of lateral flow tests due to these new figures.
The UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) chief medical adviser, Susan Hopkins, has noted that the organisation is looking into the issue, according to the Telegraph.
“The UKHSA acknowledges that it doesn’t have an explanation as yet but is investigating because it has “not experienced this before to such a degree”.