The Department of Health has announced it is buying 1m home coronavirus tests from a British consortium, even though experts say the only data published about them raises major questions about their accuracy.
The government is spending millions of pounds on the tests, made by the UK Rapid Test Consortium. The UK-RTC was formed to develop a British antibody test after the fiasco over health secretary Matt Hancock’s purchase of 3.5m home antibody tests from China.
Sir John Bell, the government’s life sciences adviser, evaluated the Chinese pinprick tests and announced in April that they were not good enough. He then supported the formation of the consortium, led by Abingdon Health, to find a British solution.
In late August, Prof Jon Deeks, from Birmingham University, who heads the Royal Statistical Society’s working group drawing up guidelines for evaluating all types of Covid tests, said the data about the UK antibody test on Abingdon Health’s website “cannot be trusted”.