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What is an LFD test? | Covid-19 lateral flow device (LFD) testing information | Birmingham City Council

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What is an LFD test?

The following information is provided for individuals interested in being tested for Coronavirus using Lateral Flow Device (LFD) technology at the Utilita Arena (formerly known as the NIA).

The lateral flow tests are used in people who don’t have symptoms.

These tests are trying to find people who may have no symptoms but are infectious.

This type of test is very good at identifying people who have lots of the virus, and are infectious on the day, but isn't as good at finding the virus in people who aren’t infectious yet (i.e. early in the infection), so they are a kind of spot check test.

Lateral Flow Antigen testing involves processing a nose and throat swab sample with an LFD.

The LFD detects a COVID-19 antigen, that is produced when a person is infected with COVID-19.

If this antigen is present, then a coloured strip on the LFD will appear to show a positive result.

  • You will have to self-administer a nose and throat swab under supervision of testing staff.
  • The Supervising Operative will be able to provide guidance whilst you self-administer the test, and once you have taken the swab, will take the sample for analysis.
  • You will receive a barcode, with a unique reference number (that are supplied separately to the test kits), which will be used to link you to your individual test sample.

This is different from the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that have been carried out for the public at locations across the city in recent months, which work in a different way, as the swab kits go to the lab, rather than be tested on site.

The PCR tests are better at finding very small amounts of the virus, especially early in infection, so these are used primarily in people who have symptoms and can be booked through the NHS website.

If you have a positive lateral flow test you will be asked to book a confirmatory PCR test.