NHS would back removal of follow-up PCR tests if science allows, confederation head says

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), told BBC Breakfast that lateral flows were very accurate when it came to recording a positive result.

“Of course, with a PCR test what happens is a number of those can get sent away for sequencing and then you get more information regarding the virus itself.

“So, that sort of information may potentially be lost, but only a subset of those PCR tests are sent away for sequencing anyway, so, hopefully, we won’t be losing the levels of information that we already have in this country that enables us to identify variants and so forth.”

He said it was “very, very important” that if any changes were brought in regarding dropping some PCRs that people still recorded their results from lateral flows.

Regarding the potential change to travel testing requirements, he said when there were very high numbers of cases in the UK, testing upon entry to the UK “becomes less important” as cases are already circulating.

“So, again, that’s probably why the change is coming in to support the travel industry and reduce a lot of the testing requirements.”

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