Faulty Covid swabs may have led to false positives – Wales Online
A number of faulty Covid swabs may have led to false positive coronavirus test results, the Welsh Government has said.
Concerns have been raised over a “small proportion” of affected Covid-19 swabs which were used in hospital settings, health board-run community testing units, and Welsh Ambulance Service Trust mobile testing units.
On Tuesday the Welsh Government said it had been notified of an issue affected a small number of swabs on Friday, January 15.
The affected swabs had been shipped into Wales from manufacturer COPAN between November 18 and December 14.
According to Public Health Wales the swabs affected posed “little or no risk to public health” but may have affectedthe accuracy of a small proportion of test results leading to false positives.
Further checks are being undertaken but PHW said it was “confident” that the issue does not change the “ overall epidemiological picture” around the outbreak. WalesOnline has asked the Welsh Government for the number of swabs affected but this has not been provided. However a spokesman said: ‘NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership is investigating its supply chain to establish how many of the swabs have been distributed and how many are still in stores.”
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As a result of the issue NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership has isolated all relevant supplies as a precaution while further investigations are undertaken.
NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership is also working with Public Health Wales, local health boards, manufacturers COPAN, and the UK supplier and distributor Thermo Fisher Scientific to identify and isolate the swabs potentially affected.
All microbiology labs and testing centres in Wales have been notified so affected swabs could be taken out of circulation.
These swabs were not used by Lighthouse Labs which means tests taken at regional and local testing sites are unaffected.
Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “Public Health Wales have advised that where these swabs have been used they pose little or no risk to public health. As a safeguard further checks are being undertaken. The issue detected may have affected the accuracy of a small proportion of test results leading to false positives.
“However, based on what we currently know, Public Health Wales is confident that this does not affect the overall epidemiological picture.
“The Covid-19 Test, Trace, Protect system continues to operate as normal and alternative swabs are being used.”