Medical experts warn that government Covid-19 antibody tests are probably duff

How typical of the Tory strategy on Covid-19 that the blood antibody tests that cost them £16 million might not work:

Senior medical specialists have raised concerns about the accuracy of the antibody tests being carried out on NHS staff across the country.

The blood tests – which can tell whether someone has had Covid-19 – were previously described by prime minister Boris Johnson as “game-changing”.

The government has spent £16m buying some 10 million test kits from pharmaceutical giant Abbott and Roche with the first phase of the testing programme assessing NHS and care staff, before being rolled out to the public.

But a letter from academics and clinicians, published in The BMJ, raises concerns about the performance of the tests, the clinical reasoning for them and the cost.

“We have three concerns… Firstly, there is no specific clinical indication for the test on an individual basis. Secondly, the performance of these assays has not yet been assessed to the standard typically required of a novel test. And thirdly, the resource implications are not considered.”

“The assay is being rolled out at an unprecedented pace and scale without adequate assessment, potentially compromising public trust in pathology services in the future.”

The letter adds: “NHS England requires the result to be available in 24 hours. Given that routine testing of patients is neither clinically urgent nor meets a clear public health need, this push to introduce a non-evidence based test for uncertain gains risks inefficient use of scarce resources.”

The experts also warned that a positive or negative test result would not alter how a patient is managed either way and added that a positive result “does not indicate immunity”.

It seems the government has admitted the scientists may have a point.

The Department of Health and Social Care made a statement saying: “We do not currently know how long an antibody response to the virus lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot transmit it to others.”

Nevertheless, antibody testing “will play an increasingly important role as we move into the next phase of our response to this pandemic”.

Looks like another pointless waste of cash to This Writer. How typical.

Source: Coronavirus: Medical Experts Issue Warning Over Government’s Antibody Tests | HuffPost UK

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