Publication - FOI/EIR release

Coronavirus testing kits: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
28 Sep 2020
Coronavirus testing kits: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000075419
Date received: 14 Aug 2020
Date responded: 1 Sep 2020
Information requested

Which testing kit is being used to detect / test for coronavirus in Scottish people.
1)The different types of test used.

2) which is the most common test used for the virus

3) the accuracy of the most common test with any evidence on record that supports this.

4) How many false positive tests or inaccurate readings have been produced by the most common test Finally how many inaccurate or false positive readings have came as a result of the lesser common tests

Response

1)The different types of test used. & 2) which is the most common test used for the virus.
There are two types of test for COVID-19 currently in use in Scotland:
viral (PCR) testing and antibody testing. PCR tests are used to detect if someone is currently infected with the virus; and antibody testing is used to tell us if someone has had the virus. In addition to PCR testing, and antibody testing, Scotland has world leading research expertise in viral genomics. Genome sequencing of the COVID-19 virus is currently being undertaken by a Glasgow and Edinburgh partnership working as part of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium.

4) How many false positive tests or inaccurate readings have been produced by the most common test Finally how many inaccurate or false positive readings have came as a result of the lesser common tests.
False negative results can happen if a swab misses collecting cells infected with the virus, or if virus levels are low – for example, at the start of an infection. The risk to others of false negative results is clear – an infectious person who receives a negative result risks transmitting the virus to others, including vulnerable people who can suffer very severe harm.

In certain situations, testing again after a number of 5 days – when levels of the virus may be higher and therefore detectable – can reduce the risk of false negative results having serious consequences. Weak positive results can happen when the swab picks up fragments of the virus from an individual who is no longer infectious.
Some of the information you have requested (the accuracy of the most common test with any evidence on record that supports this) is available from https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scotlands-testing-strategy-adapting-pandemic/. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG