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Updated Cochrane review on accuracy of rapid tests (including lateral flow tests and molecular tests) for detecting COVID-19

Cochrane has published an updated systematic review of studies assessing rapid tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection.  The review looks at studies assessing the sensitivity and specificity of antigen tests (lateral flow tests) and molecular tests, in both people with and without symptoms.

The first version of this review included 22 studies and was published in August 2020.  The updated review now includes evidence from 64 studies (mostly from Europe and the US).  Only three studies were exclusively in people without symptoms.

Please note that some recent assessments of lateral flow tests won’t have been included in the review as includes evidence published up to 30 September 2020.  The review also doesn’t include any studies assessing their use in schools.

Journalists dialled in to this briefing to hear from the authors of the review about their findings.


Speakers included:

Dr Jac Dinnes, Senior Researcher in Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Birmingham, and an author of the review

Prof Jon Deeks, Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Birmingham, and an author of the review

Dr Ann Van den Bruel, Associate Professor of Primary Care at the KU Leuven (Belgium), and a GP, and an author of the review

Dr Michael Brown, Department of Emergency Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and a Cochrane Senior Editor


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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