CORONAVIRUS lateral flow tests don’t work as well on children, a new report has revealed.
The findings suggest that the swabs only pick up 64 per cent of infections in younger age groups.
Writing in the Journal médical britannique, experts looked at 17 studies on lateral flow tests and how good they are at identifying infections in school-aged kids.
The British and German teams found that the tests detected 72 per cent of infections when kids had symptoms of Covid, such as the three main signs listed by the NHS as a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell.
But when children had no symptoms, the detection rate fell to 56 per cent and that overall they had an accuracy rate of 64 pour cent.
Lateral flow tests have been hailed as a way out of the pandemic as they allow people to check themselves for coronavirus in the comfort of their own homes in less than 30 minutes.
When it comes to detecting the bug in adults, previous studies have shown that the tests are over 80 per cent effective at detecting any levels of the virus.
The paper, Publié dans Clinical Epidemiology found that the test detected 90 per cent of infections when people were most infectious.
Les plus lus dans Santé
The UK Health Security Agency also previously found that lateral flow tests are as effective at detecting Omicron than other variants before it.
For most people who test positive with a lateral flow test, a follow up PCR test is no longer required, due to high infection rates.
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While infection rates are high, they are falling, and most people who catch Omicron say it feels like a common cold.
A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains in the vaccinated, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 à 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
The authors of the BMJ paper explained that the results showed that the tests were not up to scratch with different regulatory bodies when it comes to testing on children.
The World Health Organisation, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aux Etats-Unis , all require a success rate of at least 80 per cent for the tests.
Dr Naomi Fujita-Rohwerder, of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care in Cologne, Germany said: “Taking into account test-specific pooled results, no test included in this review fully satisfied the minimum performance requirements as recommended by WHO…the US…or the MHRA in the UK.
“This may affect the planned purpose of the broad implementation of testing programmes.”
TEMPS DE TEST
Lateral flow tests have become a staple for most people, but there are three main ways that you could be doing them wrong.
Testing properly is important as it can help stop the spread of the virus.
Dr Nathan, an A&E doctor in London, who has been producing helpful posts on his Instagram page (@expedition_doctor) to explain all about Covid lateral flow tests (LFTs)
1. Food and drink
It’s important that when you do a lateral flow test you read the instruction leaflet – even if you’ve done lateral flow tests before.
This is because tests are manufactured in different places and some require different wait times, while others require you to just swab your nose or your nose and throat.
Dr Nathan said: “Read the enclosed instructions all the way through before you start the test.
“Don’t forget to avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes before, to blow your nose and to wash your hands!"
2. Look out
Failing to spot a positive test is one of the main ways people do the tests wrong.
“Any positive line within 30 minutes, even if it is so faint that it is barely visible, equals a positive result.
"Pourtant, if a faint line appears after 30 minutes, this can be ignored”, Dr Nathan said.
3. Swab it right
Dr Nathan said: “You should always follow the enclosed instructions.
“If the test advises doing a throat and nose swab, do this. If it advises a nose swab only, do this.
"Cela étant dit, there are some anecdotal reports of people getting a positive throat swab and a negative nose swab, and later developing symptoms and a positive PCR.”