Testing must go hand-in-hand with vaccine for the UK to come out of the COVID-19 crisis successfully

The UK’s successful vaccine roll-out has been hailed as ‘our way out’ of the COVID-19 crisis, but this is a simplistic view, warns UK COVID-19 rapid testing expert. 

Andrew Wheeler, CEO of Katalyst Laboratories, a DHSC approved testing platform and one of the most experienced testing companies in the UK argues: “As the UK moves into the next phase of the vaccine roll-out, we cannot afford to be complacent. 

“Despite hitting government targets early, new strains are emerging on a regular basis and some are more dangerous than others. Premium testing is the only way to identify, track and trace strains to ensure they are isolated and do not spread. Testing must go hand-in-hand with vaccine for the UK to come out of the COVID-19 crisis successfully.” 

PCR testing is currently the only accurate and reliable method we have to monitor and control the virus linked to real time test result reporting.   The recent article in the Guardian (1) highlighting the dangers of relying on lateral flow testing demonstrates the need to keep accurate testing to help keep our borders safe and minimise the number of infected individuals entering the UK and stop the spread of variants.The UK needs to be on the front foot in identifying new variants and updating vaccines and testing in order to minimise the effect of variant mutation.   If this is not the case then the UK will yoyo in out of lockdowns for the forseaable future.  

WHO has also warned this week that the pandemic is far from over and vaccinations alone wil not end the pandemic. WHO Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro whilst addressing the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh (2) “The pandemic is nowhere near finished,” Dr Nabarro said. “Each week we have seen four and a half million cases being reported and know those are an enormous underestimate…and we are still seeing a really significant number of deaths – nearly three million. For anybody to say that they are safe because they are vaccinated is more hope than probability.”

All the above demonstrates that accurate PCR testing is a critical component in managing COVID-19 and remains one of our most effective tools in helping life resume in a safe manner.

(1)https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/15/rapid-covid-testing-in-england-may-be-scaled-back-over-false-positives

(2) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/who-envoy-pandemic-covid-surge-b1831402.html

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