UKHSA has performed an initial laboratory evaluation of the current lateral flow devices (LFDs) for COVID-19 in current use in the UK.
Initial data suggests that LFDs are as likely to detect Omicron as other variants including Delta, which has been the dominant variant in the UK from May to December 2021.
Of 5,153 individuals identified with an Omicron infection between 1 November and 11 December 2021, 305 were linked to a previous confirmed infection and had an interval from the previous positive test of 90 days or more. The data so far suggests an increase in overall reinfection rates, alongside an increase in first infections.
Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA Chief Executive, said:
“Our data shows that LFD tests are similarly able to detect COVID-19 in individuals who have been exposed to Omicron as in those exposed to previous variants. This is very encouraging. As we all work to limit the high levels of transmission of this variant over the Christmas period, we are urging people to test regularly, particularly before attending social gatherings.
“As always, the booster vaccine remains the best protection against infection. Please come forward to receive your booster as soon as possible.