Lateral Flow Tests

Nose Bleeds, Choking, Fainting, Death: The Hundreds of Injuries Brits Have Reported From Covid Tests

Hundreds of Britons reported injuries from getting tested for Covid, official data show. MailOnline has the story.

Dozens say they’ve fainted or choked while swabbing, while others have complained about nose bleeds and hot flashes. Drug regulators tasked with policing the safety of virus tests have logged over 3,000 reports of harm throughout the pandemic.

The figures, obtained by MailOnline through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, are only a “snapshot”, however. Thousands more people will have hurt themselves while using lateral flows or taking swabs because not everyone reports their experiences, experts say. And the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the body in charge of safety monitoring, also insist the swabs won’t have definitely been to blame in the few cases that have been logged.

In a similar fashion to how side effects from the Covid vaccines are tracked, officials ask everyone to record any incidents that occur from getting tested. The MHRA encourages people to report any safety concerns with the tests and give feedback, such as if it is damaged or components are missing. It then investigates any serious problems and logs them, to prevent similar incidents in the future. 

More than 500million tests have been conducted in the U.K. since the start of the Covid pandemic, with the now-axed scheme costing up to £2bn per month at the height of the Omicron wave.

At least 3,443 complaints were logged about Covid tests by April 7th, according to the MHRA data. Of these, 1,013 complaints were logged about lateral flow swabs. At least 177 said they suffered “minor” harm when using the tests, while between 39 and 69 reported “serious” harm. Uncertainty around the figures – collected monthly – are due to the watchdog not providing exact numbers when fewer than five people report a specific type of incident.

The vast majority of complaints did not give sufficient information about the harms caused by tests. But allergic reactions to components of the test and choking were the most common incidents reported.  Britons also complained of headaches, a bleeding nose, respiratory tract infections, sore throats, hot flushes, skin inflammation and swelling. Between one and four deaths were logged.

The MHRA said the reporting of an adverse testing incident in its database “does not necessarily mean the events described were caused by that medical device”. The agency added that it “could be due to unrelated patient/user factors”.

A spokesperson said: “The information we hold on our database is not a full picture of all the device-related incidents that happened during this period, it is just a snapshot. It’s not compulsory for healthcare professionals and members of the public to report incidents directly to MHRA, but we strongly encourage this.”

Meanwhile, 2,430 people made a complaint to the watchdog after taking a PCR test. Of these reports, at least 261 logged minor harms, while 78 reported serious harm. The harms reported included allergic reactions, choking and nose bleeding. Britons also said they suffered sore throats, loss of consciousness and “emotional changes” after taking PCR tests. A handful of cases of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – a lung condition that causes breathing difficulties – and joint dislocation were also logged with the MHRA, along with sneezing and vomiting. And between three and 12 deaths were reported to the MHRA that members of the public linked with PCR tests.   

Worth reading in full.

Stay Off Work If You Get Covid Symptoms – But Go to Work if You Get Covid Symptoms, Government Tells Public

Britons should go to work if they have a headache or feel tired – even though both are now officially recognised as Covid symptoms and the public is advised to stay at home if they have Covid symptoms – Health Secretary Sajid Javid said today. MailOnline has more.

Asked whether he would still go to work if he had a headache, Sajid Javid claimed he would “first reach for the Nurofen”. He said it would also depend “how tired I felt”. 

Health chiefs last week quietly expanded the list of tell-tale signs of the virus to warn of nine other symptoms. As well warning of headaches and feeling tired, officials also now say that a blocked or runny nose, a loss of appetite and feeling or being sick can signal that someone is infected.

The decision marked a huge change in the Government’s stance on symptoms, after acknowledging only three for the entirety of the pandemic (a fever, cough and loss or change to taste or smell), despite other countries and health bodies including up to 14.

The move coincided with the vast majority of employees in England no longer being able to get any free swabs as part of Boris Johnson’s “Living With Covid” strategy. Experts warned the axing of free tests for all but the most vulnerable – coupled with the expansion of the NHS symptom list – will trigger a “free for all” on staff absences, leaving workers to decide “whether or not they stay at home and for how long”. …

The NHS notes on its website that the now 12 Covid symptoms – which also include an aching body, a sore throat and diarrhoea – are “very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu”. People experiencing these symptoms, who also have a temperature or don’t feel well enough to work, should “try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people”. They should also take “extra care” to avoid contact with anyone at higher risk from the virus.

Warnings of a Workplace Sickness “Free For All” as NHS Expands Covid Symptom List and Workers Advised to “Stay at Home” When Unwell

The Government’s scrapping of free Covid tests combined with an expansion to the NHS list of symptoms will trigger a “free for all” of staff absences, experts have warned. MailOnline has more.

The vast majority of employees in England are now unable to get any free swabs as part of Boris Johnson’s “Living With Covid” strategy.  

But health chiefs advise people to “stay at home” if they have any of the 12 newly-recognised symptoms, which can be “very similar” to ones brought on by colds or the flu.

It means, in the absence of a test, people suffering cold-like symptoms will be left to decide “whether or not they stay at home and for how long”, unions say.

Lucy Moreton, a professional officer at the ISU, the union for borders, immigration and customs, warned that it is “inevitable” staff will be off work with mild symptoms if they are unable to confirm whether or not they have Covid.

Unions also fear the chaos will only drive transmission up, with Covid levels already at a pandemic high in England and one in 12 people thought to be currently infected.

Only the elderly, most vulnerable and health and social care workers can access tests for free. Tests are, however, available at high street retailers such as Boots for £2. 

England’s mass swabbing regime – thought to cost up to £2billion-a-month – was ditched under Boris Johnson’s “Living With Covid” strategy.

It marked one of the final steps on the route back to normal life, after mandatory self-isolation rules were scrapped in mid-February.

Workers who test positive no longer have to legally self-isolate, although they are still advised to “stay at home and avoid contact with other people”. The NHS also says that they should take “extra care” to avoid making contact with anyone at higher risk of the virus. 

NHS Covid advice also says: “You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.'”

Worth reading in full.

How I Came to Need Imaginary Friends After Two Long Years of This Dystopian Nightmare of Masks, Tests and Distancing

It has been such a long two years. I have been swimming against the tide for most of that time, searching for alternatives to the oppression I have felt and witnessed, raging and grieving over the damage done to so many lives, especially the young. I rage against being part of a huge worldwide experiment. I rage against the crazy rules, the propaganda, and most of all the masks. 

We are now perhaps emerging blinking into a life without Covid rules and yet the masks and their wearers are still everywhere. The natural world is unchanged, but the human world is still dystopian. An invitation to a singing workshop involves a lateral flow test before you go, social distancing of one metre, and masks when not singing. Two friends required a lateral flow test before a visit.

I no longer support any political party, any campaign group, newspaper or magazine. The Left has left me. I am appalled by the role trade unions have played. My principles have not altered, but I have lost my place in the wider world.  

My small world has changed too. Around me are my partner, my sister and her partner and four friends who have rejected some or all of the orthodoxy of Covid in our lives. And there is another close friend who doesn’t know what she thinks. These people have been warm support and good company.

The rest of my friends and family have been ‘conformist’ and one has rejected me altogether. These relationships have lost in trust and intimacy. My disappointment runs deep. Talking about what we have lived through seems very hard to do and nothing feels as it used to because I am so changed and we are all changed. I cannot see how we heal ourselves and relationships unless there is dialogue. There is an elephant in the room.

There are people out there that I feel in some way connected to: scientists like Carl Heneghan, the Great Barrington authors Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, psychologist Gary Sidley, writers and philosophers like Charles Eisenstein, Paul Kingsnorth and Lionel Shriver, A State of Fear author Laura Dodsworth, and many more. These are my imaginary friends who are out there questioning and campaigning. Their writing helps me at least feel not entirely mad. I can’t find a way at the moment to be part of anything I really believe in except for helping the Smile Free campaign from my computer.

Free Covid Testing to End

Free PCR and possibly also lateral flow tests will be axed within weeks as part of Boris Johnson’s plan to live with Covid, though tests are likely to remain free for vulnerable people and within hospitals and high-risk settings. The Sun has the story.

Brits are currently told to get a highly-accurate PCR test after coming into contact with someone with Covid, but this advice is also set for the chop as the nation gets back to normal.

PCR tests which were previously needed for travel could cost more than £100 privately.

Free lateral flow kits could also be scrapped under money-saving plans reportedly being pushed by the Treasury.

Everyone would have to start paying for rapid self-tests except the oldest age groups, according to the Guardian.

People who catch the virus would also stop being told to take an LFT on days five and six to further reduce their use.

Ministers are poring over a menu of Covid options this week before making final calls.

The PM is desperate to end all Covid rules – including the legal duty to self isolate – by the end of the month.

Government insiders said PCR tests were hugely expensive and were less needed now cheaper lateral flow tests are widely available.

Advice for workers to take lateral flow tests regularly will also be scrapped.

And ministers may also scale down the Office for National Statistics Covid monitoring programme, which tests a sample of the population every week to find out how widespread it is.

Pity it appears some recommendations to test will remain, despite Omnicold plainly not warranting any special consideration as a contagious disease.

Worth reading in full.

Self-Isolation Cut By One Day

Self-isolation is to be cut to five days in England, as Ministers start to relax Covid rules at the glacial pace we’ve all become accustomed to these past two years. The Telegraph has the story.

Under the new rules, from Monday those isolating after testing positive for Covid, or showing symptoms of it, will be freed from the start of their sixth day, as long as they have a negative lateral flow result that day, and the day before. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced the latest change in the House of Commons today, after weeks of business leaders calling for quarantine periods to be reduced, amid warnings they were crippling major sectors of the economy. 

He said data from the U.K. Health Security Agency shows that around two thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five

“We’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self isolation to five full days in England, from Monday, people can test twice before they go, leaving isolation at the start of day six.”

The new system is similar to that of the United States, where isolation lasts five full days – allowing exit at the start of day six.

Until now, the first point of exit has been day seven, which also depends on two days of negative tests.

The Government still hasn’t addressed, though, why it is still requiring isolation periods at all, given that there is clearly no medical emergency anymore and there are only excess deaths at present for reasons other than Covid.

Pre-School Tyranny

There follows a guest post by a Daily Sceptic reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, about the borderline child abuse they have witnessed being inflicted on children at their child’s nursery owing to the over-zealous application of Covid rules and guidelines. If readers have other stories of the mistreatment of children under Covid rules and guidelines email us here.

Parents with children in nursery care have suffered tremendously with the pandemic. Here is our experience of nurseries in Norfolk. In the first lockdown we were expected to look after our two year old whilst undertaking two full time jobs at home. This was obviously very hard and meant working evenings and weekends to catchup on day jobs. Initially our nursery tried to charge full price for not doing anything. They backed down when they realised they could furlough staff. A discount was given.

In the January 2021 lockdown, with no notice, they reduced the school day by several hours and removed all meals. We had less than 12 hours notice and no reduction in fees. We know from staff at the nursery that they were furloughing staff so that they profited from providing less care.

Needless to say we moved nursery to a better one that provided a better service.

In general we have been happy with the new nursery, however, the Covid idiocy is getting worse.

Even in the summer, parents have to wear masks when they drop their children off outside. I am pretty much the only parent not to do this as it’s clearly stupid and not good for my son to see me masked.

Last week, with less than a day’s notice, we were asked to do a lateral flow test on children (all under-fives). It was worded as a request, but at drop off, it was insisted upon, and if you didn’t have evidence toddlers and babies were swabbed at the door.

Pressure on Health Service is “Abating”, Says Michael Gove, As He Refuses to Rule Out End of Free Lateral Flow Tests

In what may be a sign of things to come, arch-lockdown fanatic Michael Gove has begun to pivot, contradicting Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi by refusing to rule out the end of free lateral flow tests and saying the pressure on the NHS is “abating”. “We are moving to a situation where it is possible to say that we can live with Covid,” the Housing Secretary said. Sky News has the story.

But when asked by Kay Burley on Monday for how long the [lateral flow] devices will remain free for all, Mr Gove said: “It is the case that in this country lateral flows are free – unlike in many other jurisdictions – they are a vital tool in making sure that we can curb the spread of the infection and also that people who need to isolate do so.

“But, as you pointed out right at the beginning of our conversation, we are moving to a situation – we are not there yet – but we are moving to a situation where it is possible to say that we can live with Covid and that the pressure on the NHS and on vital public services is abating.

“But, it is absolutely vital to recognise that we are not there yet. And as the health secretary has reminded us there will be some difficult weeks ahead and that is why we all need to continue to test, continue – if we are positive – to isolate, and continue broadly to support the NHS as it goes through a challenging period but one in which the frontline professionals are doing an amazing job.”

Pressed once more on whether the Government is considering phasing out lateral flow tests but not for the coming weeks, Mr Gove replied: “As the Prime Minister and others have said, we will do whatever it takes.”

Sounds like he may be preparing the ground for the wind-down – and it is being reported that Boris is indeed drawing up plans for “living with Covid”. Let’s hope so. Mass testing has long outlived any usefulness it might have had.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Boris says he’s looking at cutting the self-isolation period to five days, according to MailOnline.

Covid Test Swabs Found Contaminated With Aluminium, Silicon and Dangerous Chemicals

A public sector trade union in Cyprus has called for the suspension of rapid lateral flow tests after analysis found multiple times the permissible trace level of ethylene oxide.

The analysis by Cyprus-based Food Allergens Lab found 0.36 mg/kg of ethylene oxide in one swab, over seven times the limit of 0.05 mg/kg imposed by E.U. regulations.

According to the European Chemicals Agency, ethylene oxide is toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic, including when inhaled. It is used to coat and sterilise PCR and rapid test nasal swabs.

A separate analysis by A-D Research Foundation in California found aluminum and silicon at concentrations as high as 7.25% and 14.06% respectively in some spots on PCR test swabs. The author, Peter Grandics, explains that aluminum and silicon can both be hazardous to health, and suggests this may explain the “rapid-onset nasal bleed and strong and lasting adverse reactions reported by the tested individuals”.

It follows concerns about why the bristles in LFT swabs so easily break away and remain in the body, as shown in this video.

As reported in the Daily Sceptic in August, Professor Anthony Brookes and Dr Kees Straatman from the University of Leicester put some material from a LFT swab under a powerful laser microscope and sent us the videos showing what they found. They explained:

Why Are the LFT Swab Bristles Tube-like and Why Do They Stay in Your Body?

A few months ago, some people had a closer look at the swabs typically provided for carrying out lateral flow tests and wondered why the bristles broke away so easily and remained in your body. Here’s a good video demonstrating the issue.

One oddity was that the bristles appeared to be like tubes, and this raised the question of whether they were hollow, and what might be inside them.

Intrigued by the unusual composition of the swabs, Professor Anthony Brookes and Dr Kees Straatman from the University of Leicester put some material from one under a powerful laser microscope. The videos below show what they found. They explain:

To shed further light on the bristle structure of the swabs provided in LFD testing kits, we examined examples via confocal microscopy. The bristles were easy to separate from the swab itself, about 15 micrometres in diameter (the size of a large nucleus in a human cell), and clearly comprised an outer tube layer with an inner filling. The inner material does not seem to exude or flow or deviate from a cylindrical shape when the bristles are dissected, and so we would provisionally conclude this inner material is solid or semi-solid in nature.