Covid-19 LAMP tests to be trialled – Expert Reaction

Thirty Air New Zealand staff will participate in a trial for LAMP tests, which can accurately detect Covid-19 within 30 minutes.

The government says the Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) tests have the potential to combine the speed of a RAT, with the accuracy of a PCR test. The trial will use the ‘Lucira Check-It’ test kits.

The SMC asked experts to comment.

Terry Taylor, President, New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science, comments:

“LAMP tests are designed as a rapid alternative to the more time consuming and complex PCR tests for COVID identification. The enclosed LAMP test system is effectively a ‘lab in a bottle’. Unlike a RAT test, LAMP tests measure the actual viral RNA and provide similar accuracy and certainty when compared to the ‘gold standard’ PCR test. The major advantage is the fact that LAMP tests like Lucira only take 30 minutes to give a positive or negative result.

“They are single use and are not designed for high throughput testing but are perfect for what are known as’ Point of Care’ situations where a quick and accurate COVID result is needed. Because the Lucira test measure the actual COVID virus RNA it virtually eliminates the false negative and positive problem that has been identified with RATs. LAMP tests like Lucira are used extensively throughout the world for settings that require rapid accurate testing.

“As someone who has dealt first hand with the intense pressure that our diagnostic laboratory COVID PCR testing has been under over the past two years, my question is why has it taken so long to get approval for LAMP testing in Aotearoa New Zealand?”

Conflict of interest statement: “I work as a registered medical laboratory scientist for Southern Community Laboratories in Dunedin which provides both publicly funded and commercial laboratory services. The NZIMLS work is voluntary and independent of my employment and is covered by a code of ethics and disclosure clause.”