Testing has been suspended at a lab in Wolverhampton that’s been given £120 million by the Government after an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority found that workers at the lab were filmed fighting and apparently drinking while on shift in January. The regulator fears that up to 45,000 infected people might have been wrongly given the all clear. MailOnline has more.
Immensa Health Clinic – awarded a £120million Government deal – is responsible for prosessing PCR tests taken at sites based mainly in the South West.
But an investigation has found swabs sent to the lab may have been checked incorrectly since September 8, with infected Britons told they do not have the virus.
Health chiefs said it had analysed more than 400,000 swabs since early last month, but the vast majority of these would have been negative.
People who may have been given an incorrect result will be contacted in the coming days and asked to take another PCR test. Samples are being redirected to other laboratories.
There are no technical issues with test kits themselves and people should continue to test as normal, officials said.
West Berkshire council today urged everyone who got tested at one site in its area between October 3rd and 12th to get a second PCR test.
It comes after workers at the lab on Wolverhampton University science park were filmed fighting and apparently drinking while on shift in January.
There are concerns failures at the lab may be linked to a rising number of reports of faulty lateral flow tests in England. …
Dr Will Welfare, the public health incident director at the UK Health Security Agency which replaced Public Health England, said an investigation had revealed concerns over the way the lab was analysing swabs.
He said in a statement: “We have recently seen a rising number of positive LFD results subsequently testing negative on PCR.
“As a result of our investigation, we are working with NHS Test and Trace and the company to determine the laboratory technical issues which have led to inaccurate PCR results being issued to people.
“We have immediately suspended testing at this laboratory while we continue the investigation.”
He added: “There is no evidence of any faults with LFD or PCR test kits themselves and the public should remain confident in using them and in other laboratory services currently provided.
“If you get a positive LFD test, it’s important to make sure that you then get a follow up PCR test to confirm you have COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and take a PCR test.”
Professor Alan McNally, a geneticist at Birmingham University, warned that this could be just the “tip of a rather large iceberg”.
Immensa Health Clinic won a £119 million Government contract in November last year to carry out PCR tests.
This was not put out to tender, meaning other companies did not have a chance to bid for the deal.
Worth reading in full.
This isn’t the first time a PCR lab in receipt of tens of millions of pounds of Government money has been exposed as not fit for purpose. The Daily Sceptic ran a piece by a whistleblower about shortcomings at a Lighthouse Lab in Milton Keynes last November.