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Dr Brink allays lateral flow concerns

Dr Brink allays lateral flow concerns

Thursday 04 March 2021

Dr Brink allays lateral flow concerns

Lateral flow tests give rapid corona virus results and are being used in the UK and the Bailiwick Guernsey for mass testing without lab analysis.

The test is very similar to a home pregnancy test, as the lateral test detects specific proteins in a person. However, concerns have been raised about the accuracy of these tests.

We know that the lateral flow tests will be used for ongoing surveillance in schools when students return on Monday.


Pictured: A combination of the ‘gold standard’ PCR tests and lateral flow testing will be used when students return to school.

The accuracy of lateral flow testing can vary from 57% to 79% sensitivity depending on who is carrying out the test. Test sensitivity measures how often tests correctly return “true positives”.

“We know that lateral flows are best used by trained staff,” said the Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink. “It’s all down to a thorough training programme.”


Pictured: “The lateral flow tests are slightly less sensitive than the PCR tests,” said Dr Brink.

When we asked Dr Brink about lateral flow test concerns during the latest media briefing, she offered reassurance Public Health won’t be reporting any false positives.

“We would always confirm any positive result with a formal PCR test,” she said. Students will be undertaking a PCR test before going back to school and then lateral flow testing will be used as infection surveillance in the future.

The particular lateral flow test chosen by Public Health will also be able to pick up any variant viruses as well.

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