UK Gov't to End Free Supply of Widely-Panned COVID-19 Home Testing Kits

© TOBY MELVILLEFILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London
FILE PHOTO: Students take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests at Harris Academy Beckenham, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.10.2021
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The lateral flow home test kits made by California-based firm Innova have already been criticised as useless by academics and senior health officials, with studies showing them to be woefully inaccurate.
The British government will halt the free supply of COVID-19 home testing kits — according to an inside source.
The Lateral Flow test kits made by US firm Innova can currently be requested by post or from pharmacies to allow the public to screen themselves for coronavirus without having to visit a National Health Service (NHS) or private testing centre.
A Whitehall source who backed the move told the Daily Telegraph that scheme had been rendered redundant by the success of the government's vaccination programme. That has seen uptake levels of around 95 per cent among over-65s, the most vulnerable age group.
"It’s agreed that universal access isn’t sustainable or necessary given high vaccination levels," the source said. "We now need to decide what the parameters should be that reasonably qualify access to free testing."
The Treasury was reported to be in favour of the move as it would help cut the hundreds of billions being spent on managing the pandemic.
In this picture taken on December 21, 2020, an employee checks COVID-19 coronavirus home test units that have been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at the production facility of Australian digital diagnostics company Ellume in Brisbane - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.10.2021
Australian Company Withdraws Some at-Home COVID-19 Tests Kits in US Due to False Results
But the kits have already been criticised by experts as inaccurate and unreliable compared to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests run by professional staff, while some state schools no longer accept them as proof of a child's uninfected status.
As early as January this year two academics and one senior health official warned in the British Medical Journal that the kits were next to useless — despite the government's claim they were 77 per cent accurate — and should be scrapped.
They pointed to one study in Liverpool that found the tests gave false negatives in 60 per cent of cases, including a third of those with a high viral load that made them more infectious to others. Another study they cited from Birmingham showed only 3 per cent of students whose infections had been confirmed by a PCR test showed positive on the Innova kits.
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