How accurate are lateral flow tests?

Lateral Flow tests are simple, easy-to-use tests that non-professionals can perform to assess a large number of patients. The technology uses a nitrocellulose membrane that works with a nanoparticle label. The membrane typically uses antibodies to produce the results.


You apply a sample, such as urine, and the sample will move through the membrane onto an absorbent pad, and it reacts to form a line. A control line is usually present to show that the test is working.


Types of lateral flow tests


Two common types are usually developed. First, there is a version similar to a dipstick, and then you can also get one that works with a housed cassette. Both tests work in similar manners. It just depends on the sample type you would like to use and what format is suitable for your purpose.


How accurate are lateral flow tests


In March 2021, the NHS and UK Government conducted research which indicated that the test was at least 99.9% accurate, with a minimal chance of seeing a false positive. But since then, independent facilities have suggested that the tests are often not very sensitive and can miss when viruses or bacteria are still in the early stages.


So, for example, recently, lateral flow tests were used extensively for COVID testing. However, one of the facilities, the Cochrane review, did a range of studies and found that compared to the PCR tests, the sensitivity isn’t as high.


But PCR tests require several hours to get results and must be performed by a professional in the medical field.


What are the advantages of lateral flow tests


Lateral flow tests can be conducted quickly and easily by a non-professional. They have a two-year shelf life, and you can have the results of the sample within 15 minutes. They are ideal for large group testing, for example, at an event, education facility, travel sectors, commercial offices or at healthcare clinics.


Where can you get the tests?


Dr Adams is one of the leading distributors of lateral flow tests. They can supply them in a variety of pack sizes and can also do bulk. Their tests are all fully CE-certified, TUV SUD certified and from ISO-certified manufacturers. In addition, they are approved for public use under the PROTOCOL in accordance with regulation 39A(2) and (3) of the Medical Devices Regulations 2002. For more information visit Dr Adams Laboratories website.


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