After Tesla CEO Elon Musk raised questions over the efficacy of the rapid tests to spot Covid-19, new research has claimed that the accuracy of a rapid finger-prick antibody test for Covid-19 infection may be considerably lower than previously suggested.
The results, published in the journal The BMJ, suggest that if 10 people of people given the test had previously been infected, around one in five positive test results would be incorrect (false positive results).
"These conclusions contrast with an earlier (not yet peer reviewed) study suggesting that the test gives no false positive results," said study authors from Imperial College London in the UK.
The findings suggest the test can deliver a sufficient degree of accuracy for surveillance studies of the population, but laboratory confirmation of positive results is likely to be needed if these tests are to be used to provide evidence of protection from the virus.
The AbC-19TM Rapid Test uses a drop of blood from a finger-prick to see if it's likely that someone has previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
It gives results in 20 minutes, without the need to go to a laboratory, and is approved for use by health professionals in the UK and EU.
For the results, scientists tested blood samples in a laboratory from 2,847 key workers (healthcare, fire, and police staff) in England.