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A new study by researchers at the University of Oxford, Queen Mary University of London, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, and the Medical University of Graz, has found that lateral flow tests detect Covid-19 with similar accuracy to laboratory-based PCR tests, providing they are used at the onset of infection and soon after symptoms start.

Man taking a rapid antigen test (lateral flow) for covid-19

Lateral flow tests are cheaper and produce a result in just 30 minutes - much faster than the time it takes to receive a PCR test result, which can take 1-3 days. The finding could be pivotal to national strategies looking to tackle the next phase of the pandemic, especially as timely and rapid testing becomes even more important once the current restrictions lift in England.

As part of the study, over 2,500 people with mild to moderate flu-like symptoms were assessed by GPs in the district of Liezen (population 79,652), Austria, between October 22 and November 30, 2020 and tested for viral antigen using lateral flow tests. Those who were suspected to have Covid-19 were also tested using a PCR test.

The lateral flow tests detected more than 95 per cent of the cases found by PCR, and correctly identified 89 per cent of cases as negative.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.

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