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How to order free lateral flow tests

Free packs of rapid lateral flow tests can be posted to people’s homes or collected at several places across the country. The tests involve rubbing a swab over the tonsils and inside the nose, much like a normal PCR Covid test. The rapid tests can give a result in around 30 minutes and do not have to be posted away for testing.
It is recommended people carry out a rapid test twice a week.

This is because some one in three people are unaware they have COVID-19 as they do not show symptoms, according to the NHS website.

Rapid tests can help to find cases of the virus which may previously have gone unidentified.

People who test positive on a lateral flow test for COVID-19 then need to self-isolate and order a PCR test.

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If someone chooses to collect their tests, they can collect a total of two packs at a time, which equates to 14 lateral flow tests.

Lateral flow tests can also be ordered via phone on 119 if someone cannot order them online.

Phone lines are open from 7am until 11pm and calls are free of charge.

Rapid tests are also available at lateral flow testing sites, but these may require an appointment to be booked in advance.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Lateral flow Covid tests could ‘drive up infection rates’ as lockdown eases

Author: Terri-Ann Williams
This post originally appeared on Health News – The Sun

LATERAL flow coronavirus tests could drive up infection rates as lockdown restrictions ease, experts have warned.

The government has rolled out free rapid Covid tests that produce results within 30 minutes – in order to get the country back on its feet as more venues start to reopen.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

As some aspects of normal life resume, Brits have been urged to take rapid flow coronavirus tests


As some aspects of normal life resume, Brits have been urged to take rapid flow coronavirus testsCredit: Rex

But experts say Brits could bypass the accuracy of PCR tests which are being given to people who have symptoms.

The lateral flow tests are on offer to everyone – even people who don’t have symptoms and a third of people who contract Covid are asymptomatic.

Public Health England’s (PHE) Dr Angela Raffle and Dr Mike Gill have said the rapid tests could produce “false reassurances”.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, the team said the rapid tests are already “skewing nationwide data on test numbers, cases, and positivity rates, making trends harder to interpret”.

They said: “False positive results will be a problem when prevalence is low, even with PCR confirmation.

“And the temptation for people with symptoms to opt for unsupervised, rapid, and lower sensitivity self-testing may lead to false reassurance, as happens with other screening, leading to potential increases in transmission.”

One expert said the PHE officials had “missed the point” of testing.

The graph above shows the number of virus tests conducted from May 2020 to April 2020


The graph above shows the number of virus tests conducted from May 2020 to April 2020Credit: GOV.UK

Prof Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh said the control of infectious diseases depends on finding cases and finding them early before the infection can be passed on.

He said: “People infected with novel coronavirus are infectious for 24-48 hours before they show symptoms, and this period is thought to account for up to half of all transmission.

“This pre-symptomatic infectious period makes novel coronavirus much more difficult to control. Asymptomatic testing can reveal these crucial pre-symptomatic infections – there is no other way to do this.”

PCR tests are known as the “gold standard” when it comes to testing for Covid.

These are the tests that will also be required for foreign holidays.

People who test positive with the rapid lateral flow tests are also advised to take a PCR test in order to sure up the results.

Experts have warned that rapid tests could give people false assurances that they are not infected with Covid


Experts have warned that rapid tests could give people false assurances that they are not infected with CovidCredit: Getty

In developing a testing programme, the experts added that speed was favoured over accuracy.

They said: “The challenge was framed as “find a valid test and roll it out as quickly as possible” rather than “devise best systems for using testing to help contain the pandemic.”

Each day around a million coronavirus tests are being carried out by Brits – but just over a quarter of these are the more reliable PCR tests.

The mass testing pilot was first rolled out in Liverpool under “operation moonshot”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously hailed mass testing as a way back to normal life, helping us get back to doing the things we love most.

It is thought that mass testing could be used at big sporting events and concerts.


The experts added that there is “no empirical data” to support mass SARS-CoV-2 screening, and home self-testing has not been evaluated.

They said: “The December surge of infections in Liverpool, where trained testers screened a quarter of the population, was no lower than in other cities without screening.

“The effects of screening university students from December remain unclear, and data have not been made public.

“Care homes conducting asymptomatic testing have struggled to adhere to protocols and experienced no fewer outbreaks than care homes without asymptomatic testing.”

They added that from early March, testing of millions of schoolchildren was accompanied by a short lived rise in the ascertainment of school age cases, but there is no evidence of change in the trajectory of case rates in older age groups, suggesting a lack of effect on onward transmission.

PHE states that the UK has now carried out more tests than anywhere in Europe.

Covid response director Dr Susan Hopkins said the tests have helped millions of kids return to school safely.

She highlighted that 149.2million Covid tests have been carried out and that since its launch, the NHS Test and Trace app has prevented 600,000 Covid cases.

However some experts have not agreed with the editorial in the BMJ and have sided with Dr Hopkins.

Dr Michael Joseph Mina, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said

Testing is our eyes on this virus. Without testing, we simply cannot see it. The more eyes the better – particularly when there is little downside.

“If the testing is as easy as brushing your teeth, then it’s a great addition to a comprehensive plan to limit spread.

“And it can be dynamic. The testing can be throttled up or down depending on the transmission of the virus within the population at the time.

“When cases are at a minimum, we can slow the testing down. But as long as people are already accustomed to it and have access, then if cases start to rise in a given community, then the testing can be throttled up enough to limit spread.”

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Covid testing: PCR swab, lateral flow test and LamPORE testing – differences explained

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

The LamPORE test doesn’t require a laboratory setting; the presence of Covid genetic material in the saliva is identified by “real-time loop-mediated amplification (LAMP) and is combined with “rapid, portable DNA sequencing”. At present, the NHS is trialling LamPORE tests in mobile testing units across the country. This is confirmed by the science company ZOE who are provided scientific analysis by King’s College London.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies concurred there are four LamPORE units, located in:

  • Aberdeen
  • Telford
  • Brent
  • Newbury

The Royal College of Pathologists explained LamPORE testing detects “viral RNA”.

On its own, LAMP testing has a sensitivity of 79 per cent, said the Covid Symptom Study – a King’s College London collaborator.

However, LamPORE testing “is up to 99.57 per cent, making it extremely accurate at diagnosing positive Covid cases”.

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“Then they add probes that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 [Covid] genetic code, showing any coronavirus in your sample,” explained the Covid Symptom Study.

The result is usually produced up to three days after testing, which makes it a longer waiting time than LamPORE testing.

PCR tests are available for free on the NHS if you have any of the following Covid symptoms:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

The Covid Symptom Study said: “If you have any of the other 20 or more symptoms associated with COVID-19 and log them in the ZOE COVID Study app, we’ll invite you to book a PCR test.”

The lateral flow test involves putting a swab on the inside of your nose and mouth.

Then, the end of the swab (that’s been inside your nose and mouth) goes into a small pot of liquid.

When you place a few drops of the liquid onto a testing device, you’ll either see one or two lines appear.

Within 30 minutes, one line symbolises a negative test result whereas two lines represent a positive Covid test result.

These tests are available at workplaces, schools, rapid test centres around the country, and selected pharmacies.

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Covid: How do you order a lateral flow test to your home? Risks and benefits explained

If people get into the habit of checking whether they have Covid twice weekly, people can then take precautions if they test positive.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said regular testing was “one of the simplest and easiest ways we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe”.

Hancock continued: “Rapid testing will be one of our most effective weapons in tackling this virus and ensuring we can cautiously re-open our economy.”

The lateral flow tests involve a swab in the nose or mouth, but concerns over its accuracy have been highlighted.

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This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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