Covid testing: Which is the most reliable Covid test?


As lockdown begins to ease in the UK, widespread testing might be key to stopping coronavirus spiralling uncontrolled once more, alongside the rollout of the vaccine programme. Testing is broadly out there for folks with signs, however with a lot of Covid carriers asymptomatic, the authorities has mentioned it plans to supply thousands and thousands of residence testing kits to assist society get again up and working.

So what are the totally different checks and which is most reliable?

Lateral movement

Lateral movement, or speedy antigen, checks have gotten extra broadly out there, with many native councils working testing centres for folks with out signs, typically on the town halls and group centres.

A lateral movement take a look at provides a end in about 15 to half-hour.

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With these checks, you continue to must swab the nostril and throat, however the swab is dipped in a fluid which is then dropped onto a plastic system, a bit bit like a being pregnant take a look at.

One line will seem on a paper strip displaying the take a look at has labored, a second line will present when you’ve got the virus.

These checks, whereas thought to identify the majority of the most infectious circumstances, are much less delicate and might miss circumstances of the virus, in addition to offering false positives.

A significant assessment revealed at the finish of March concluded that lateral movement testing was too inaccurate for use in mass screening, for instance to permit folks to return to work.

The Cochrane assessment of 64 research discovered that asymptomatic testing solely picked up round 50 % of circumstances, and picked up much more false than actual positives when an infection charges have been low in the group.

And SAGE, the authorities’s scientific advisory group, has warned that with mass testing utilizing lateral movement checks, false positives and false negatives might have “critical implications” for effectiveness,


PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is presently the most frequent type of testing in the UK and, at 99 % accuracy, is broadly accepted to be the most reliable take a look at.

In most circumstances, a nostril and throat swab is taken and despatched to a lab for processing, with outcomes often prepared between 24 and 48 hours later.

There are additionally speedy turnaround variations of those checks, largely out there in hospitals.

A PCR take a look at may detect in case you’re contaminated earlier than you turn out to be infectious, making it a key device in managing the unfold of Covid.

Denis Kinane, Chief Medical Officer at Cignpost Diagnostics, instructed “[We] recommend the gold standard PCR test for anyone wanting to go back to work or travel abroad safely.

“It is the solely take a look at that offers you nearly 100% certainty about whether or not you’ve gotten the Covid virus or not.”


Mr Kinane explained that LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) tests are similar in process to PCR testing.

These are the least common type of tests, and, like lateral flow tests, LAMP tests can only detect a high load of COVID-19 virus, so they can miss people in the early stages of infection.

They require a swab from the nose and throat and give results within 90 minutes.

If you need to book a Covid test, go online or call 119.




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