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Coronavirus: Screening

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 38403, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the error rate is for the current tests for covid-19.

Answered on

1 May 2020

Public Health England’s RdRp assay which is the test that has been used to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 as part of pillar 1 of the Government’s testing strategy has a very high specificity over 95%.

The sensitivity of the test when it is used in the field is determined by a number of factors including when a person is sampled after their illness has started, where the sample is taken from, the device used to swab and the time taken for the sample to get to the laboratory.