Covid testing by a private laboratory in Wolverhampton has been suspended after an NHS Test and Trace investigation found around 43,000 people in England and Wales may have received the wrong results.
The UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which is responsible for “planning, preventing and responding to external health threats,” confirmed the suspension of Covid testing at the Immense Health Clinic laboratory.
The NHS Test and Trace investigation examined around 400,000 samples that have been processed through the lab, after concerns about “people receiving negative PCR test results after they have previously tested positive on a lateral flow device.”
It found that around 43,000 people may have been affected by the errors, receiving incorrect results between September 8 and October 12, mainly in the southwest of England.
Seeking to reassure people that there isn’t a wider flaw in the Covid testing system, the UKHSA stated that “this is an isolated incident attributed to one laboratory,” and that the agency is redirecting all samples to other facilities.
The CEO of Immense Health Clinic, Andrea Riposati, responded to the decision by the NHS and UKHSA, stating they are “fully collaborating” with the investigation, as they “do not wish this matter or anything else to tarnish the amazing work done by the UK in this pandemic.”
Lateral flow tests are rapid devices that can be used to establish if an individual is infected with Covid, whether they have symptoms or are asymptomatic. PCR tests are more thoroughly analysed, being examined in a laboratory to detect the virus and allow for contact tracing to take place.