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Survey: Room for improvement in PCR testing

  • February 13, 2021
  • , NHK WORLD , 6:33 p.m.
  • English Press

Researchers say that while PCR testing for the coronavirus is broadly accurate in Japan, some laboratories have room for improvement.

 

Commissioned by the health ministry, researchers from Tokai University and another group that includes academics surveyed 563 testing facilities across Japan.

T

he researchers sent six kinds of samples to each of the labs. They found that the accuracy of testing ranged from 96.4 percent to 99.8 percent.

 

But they say 18 samples at 17 testing facilities showed false-positives or false-negatives.

 

The researchers also looked in to how labs are trying to ensure accuracy.

 

The government asks labs to use standardized testing procedures. But researchers found 282 labs instead relied on manuals supplied with testing equipment.

 

The survey also found 114 labs failed to follow rules on the use of unofficial reagents that are not approved by the government.

 

Professor Miyachi Hayato from Tokai University says that while the PCR test results were satisfactory, the team found vulnerabilities in some labs’ management systems.

 

He says the government should take steps to improve the situation, especially as a growing number of labs beyond those surveyed are now offering testing.

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