43,000 PCR tests across the UK have shown false negatives

Test and trace has been suspended, as a result

PCR false negatives

Test and trace has been suspended, as a result

An NHS lab has had to close after tens of thousands of people infected with Covid-19 have been told not to isolate by the lab's PCR tests.

The Immensa Health Clinic in Wolverhampton has suspended testing immediately after it was discovered a system failure may have been giving false negative results.

The lab, which is in Wolverhampton, processes PCR swabs, and is no longer operating under the NHS Test and Trace.

At current, health officials believe that while 400,000 samples have been processed by the lab, only 43,000 may be show inaccurate test results.

The window of error seems to affect results given between 8th September and 12th October 2021.

The lab has confirmed that an urgent investigation is already happening. It's thought at current that the issue only affects the Wolverhampton lab, rather than labs across the UK.

The lab has shared that most are from the South West of England. Inaccuracies in the tests were flagged as positive lateral flow tests started peaking while PCR positives seemed to be declining.

Thousands of individuals who did, in fact, have coronavirus, were informed by the NHS Test and Trace app that they didn't need to isolate.

Dr Will Welfare, public health incident director at the UK Health Security Agency, said on the matter: "We have recently seen a rising number of positive (lateral flow) 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."

Similarly, a lab in Berkshire is facing issues, too, with West Berkshire Council encouraging anyone tested at Newbury Showground to retest over concern for test inaccuracy between 3rd October and 12th October.

A statement from the council said: "Over the past month, some PCR tests completed at the Newbury Showground testing site, operated by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), have had results sent out that may have incorrectly shown as negative for Covid-19."

"After receiving reports from local residents in recent weeks that there were concerns about the accuracy of test results from the site, we passed these concerns onto the DHSC for further investigation."

"The DHSC has now confirmed that a number of sites nationally may have been affected by this issue, including the one at Newbury Showground."

The number of people in the UK testing positive hits its highest number in three months.

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.