Covid: Secret filming exposes contamination risk at test results lab

BBC NEWS - Mar 29, 2021 -

By reporting team -

A technician pushes a swab back into its sample tube, causing potential contamination

Secret filming at one of the biggest UK Covid testing labs has found evidence of potential contamination, discarded tests and pressure to hit targets.

A BBC reporter working as a lab technician, filmed staff cutting corners and processing samples in a way that could cause contamination.

This means some people who had taken a test via NHS Test and Trace may have received no result or a wrong result.

The lab said it had followed all necessary rules and regulations.

Evidence at the lab captured on film shows:

  • Checks to ensure samples could be identified, were rushed, meaning tests were sometimes discarded unnecessarily

  • Some test samples "glooped" across an area where other samples had been placed, risking contamination

  • Swabs used by people to take Covid tests were left in their tubes when processed, presenting a further contamination risk

  • A quality control scientist telling the reporter that the quality of the results progressively got worse throughout the day

The findings have led experts to question the way the lab was operating.


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