The latest coronavirus variant spreading in the UK, known as Pirola or BA.2.86, has sparked fresh concerns for those vulnerable to the virus.Lateral flow testing is no longer a requirement in Scotland and the rest of the UK, but it does help people figure out if they have the virus and protect others by steering clear of people, reports the Express.And while these boxes of lateral flow tests used to be handed out for free, they are no longer available on the NHS - unless you have a health condition that means you are eligible for Covid treatment, or work in either a hospice or healthcare.Those who don't qualify for free rapid tests can buy them at pharmacies, other retailers, or online.
And for those who may still have tests tucked away from the first bout of the virus, these old boxes may still be effective at detecting new and old variants of Covid, according to Gabriela Brewer.Gabriela, who has run London Covid Testing since February 2020, explained: "Lateral flow/antigen/rapid test devices can detect old and new variants."But at the same time we noticed that lately these devices are very sensitive to any type of symptom and not just Covid, but also influenza."Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests were also available during the peak of the pandemic, and were thought to be more accurate at detecting the presence of the virus.Gabriela explained: "Many of our customers have tested positive on an antigen but negative on PCR.
This is also because the antigen test would show positive even for the smallest amount of CT levels in saliva. PCR only shows positive after a certain amount."With variants like Pirola still emerging in 2023, Gabriela has urged people to use lateral flow testing if they have concerns with Covid.