MagnifEye can support the effectiveness of asymptomatic testing programmes by potentially improving accuracy and reliability, for example by identifying positive tests that might otherwise be missed using the human eye alone. These individuals can then take action to limit the risk to family, friends and colleagues.
Reducing the likelihood of false negatives provides individuals with greater certainty over their test status. This is especially important for people who wouldn’t otherwise be tested, but still go to work/have children at school (in the case of mass asymptomatic testing). Where these people receive a positive test as part of a mass testing programme, they’ll go into self-isolation, which can help break a chain of transmission which would have otherwise been missed.
In addition, with greater levels of accuracy, asymptomatic testing may be extended to enable the lessening of restrictions on for example air travel.
How widespread are COVID-19 lateral flow tests right now in the UK and elsewhere, and how do you see their use evolving in the coming months?
Lateral flow tests for COVID-19 have only come onto the market recently (i.e. approved for use). They are relatively easy to manufacture.
What is not easy is achieving a good enough sensitivity and specificity which depends on the target (in this case the COVID-19 antigen or part of it, the famous spike protein).
Right now COVID-19 rapid Lateral Flow Tests are being used for specific at-risk groups including NHS staff, university students, and for care home visitors in the UK, amongst others. The use cases are rapidly growing, and may be extended to mass population testing in the near future.