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Reports of people receiving a negative PCR result after testing positive on the rapid turnaround tests are being investigated by the UK Health Security Agency and virologists.

The UK Health Security Agency ( UKHSA ) said it had been made aware of people in some areas of the country anecdotally reporting positive lateral flow test results with subsequent negative PCR tests, and that it was looking into the cause.

Scientists told the Guardian that they would like to see more being done to ensure that members of the public who may be infected with the virus are not being falsely reassured that it is safe for them to mix with other people.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, self-isolate and take a PCR test.

That message needs to be made clear, which then buys time for the Department of Health and UKHSA to do a quality audit of the PCR testing process and try to find out where the issue may be."

dr kit yates, a senior lecturer in mathematics at the university of bath said : "i would suggest that this is investigated with the utmost urgency.

Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said : "If you get a positive LFD test, it's important to make sure that you then get a follow-up PCR test to confirm you have Covid-19.

Latest data from Test and Trace shows the proportion of children being told they are positive for Covid when they don't have the virus by lateral flow devices has doubled in the last month (red line). More than one in ten positive results from lateral flo

Although no Covid-19 test is 100 % accurate, the number of cases being reported suggests that something else may be going on.

"I don't think that the maths explains all of these cases.

Rupert Beale, who runs the Cell Biology of Infection lab at the Francis Crick Institute in London, said : "There's extensive potential cross-reactivity with seasonal coronaviruses, but at least in the UK they ’ re tested for this against three of the four seasonal coronaviruses."

With any test, it is important to carefully read and follow the instructions for use on the test kit so as to avoid any incorrect readings."

If they test positive, they must stay at home until they receive a result from a gold-standard PCR swab.

Latest Test and Trace ( T & T ) statistics reveal 18,930 of the 615,000 rapid swabs taken by pupils in the week ending September 29 came back positive.

Experts have suggested the heavy mucus samples from children who test positive may be skewing the accuracy of the swabs.

Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist at Bath University, said : "We are hearing anecdotally that schools are being advised that lateral flow positives followed by PCR negatives are likely because of colds and heavy mucus causing false positives in lateral flow device tests."

'Others have hypothesised a new variant could be circulating that isn't detected by the standard PCR test.

'There have also been well-publicised stories of children faking a positive LFT result using the acidic properties of soft drinks.

These spoofers would subsequently test negative on a follow-up PCR test. '

But mucus can be more viscous among patients with a runny nose, which may stop the fluid flowing as well and lead to a false positive.

Dr Rupert Beale, a biologist at the Francis Crick Institute, claimed it was still 'highly speculative' that a lateral flow could be fooled by a 'snotty kid' infected with another coronavirus.

More than £1billion has been spent on purchasing the devices, but studies suggest they may only pick up the virus in the early stages of an infection.

Government Sources said there is currently no evidence of any technical issues with LFDs or PCRs that could be behind the rise.

The UKHSA declined to comment on a report that it was advising schools that the discordant results are due to heavy mucus samples.

A tiny proportion of LFTs have produced false positive results since they were introduced last year, but the current issue is being reported in a higher proportion of tests, which has prompted the investigation.

You make an appointment online, though the system does not demand exact compliance with the time you book.

The second best thing about the experience is the price.

Having tested at 7.37am, the result was with me by 9.20am.

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