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'False negative' Covid test scandal: Testing suspended at Immensa Health Clinic Ltd in Wolverhampton

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Covid testing at a laboratory in Wolverhampton has been suspended following reports of false negative PCR test results.

NHS Test and Trace (NHS TT) confirmed today (Friday) that testing operations provided by the private company Immensa Health Clinic Ltd have been halted following an investigation into the reports.

It said around 400,000 samples have been processed through the lab, with an estimated 43,000 people potentially given an incorrect negative PCR test result between September 8 and October 12.

A positive lateral flow device test
A positive lateral flow device test

As previously reported on newburytoday the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that Newbury Showground is one of a number of sites nationally that has been affected by false negatives.

Residents who recently received negative PCR results from tests undertaken at the showground, between October 3 and October 12, have now been urged to retake the test.

A statement from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was “an isolated incident attributed to one laboratory”, adding that all samples are now being redirected to other laboratories.

The Newbury Showground testing site. (52275036)
The Newbury Showground testing site. (52275036)

The UKHSA said the number of tests carried out at the Immensa laboratory were small and testing availability is unaffected.

Dr Will Welfare, public health incident director at UKHSA, said: “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.

“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.”

Andrea Riposati, CEO of Immensa Health Clinic Ltd, said: “We are fully collaborating with UKHSA on this matter. Quality is paramount for us.

“We have proudly analysed more than 2.5 million samples for NHS Test and Trace, working closely with the great teams at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and UKHSA.

“We do not wish this matter or anything else to tarnish the amazing work done by the UK in this pandemic.”

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