Lateral flow test results expire very quickly

Lateral flow test results expire quickly, Universirty College London, Covid-19

A public health expert has warned about the use of self-diagnosis kits saying that lateral flow test results expire very quickly. The warning comes as the government contemplates further restrictions with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Current Covid-19 guidance recommends taking a test “if you will be in a high-risk situation that day,” however Professor Irene Petersen has said that these need to be taken moments before meeting up with others because the Omicron variant can become infectious within hours.

Petersen, a professor of epidemiology at University College London, said official advice need to be updated to make it clear that those who are infected “may switch from being non-infectious to infectious within hours”. Current government guidance is in her view “not good enough. We’re seeing so many examples now where people have taken a test a day before and then when they take one the day after they are positive.”

“Omicron is very, very fast, so the test result expires very quickly. It is hours that we are talking about now.”

It has been reported elsewhere that the government are reviewing the situation by the hour and that plans are being considered for a circuit breaker, perhaps after Christmas. The variant’s rapid spread means tougher restrictions could soon be introduced to prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed although some believe that it may be too late already with many cases already “baked in”.

The advice that Lateral flow test results expire very quickly will no doubt play a part in any future thinking of the government and its Covid-19 policies.

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at