Immensa Health Clinic, a subsidiary of Dante Labs, was incorporated as a company in the UK in May 2020, just months before it started processing tests under a UK government contract. Its website shows it offers testing services for people travelling in and out of the UK
Dr Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist at the University of Bath and a member of the Independent Sage group of scientists, suggested the error could be behind a recent rise in coronavirus cases.
He said: “There’s been a concerted effort to highlight what’s been going on with these strange results for a while now in the hope that someone would investigate. We now know 43,000 people are believed to have been given false negatives, but this doesn’t even come near to the cost of the mistake. Many of these people will have been forced into school or work, potentially infecting others. This could be part of the reason behind some of the recent rises we’ve seen.
“It’s really important that we’ve had lateral flow tests which, at the very least, allowed us to understand there was an issue, even if people weren’t allowed to act on the results. We need to find out exactly what happened here in order to make sure it doesn’t happen again elsewhere.”
NHS test and trace said about 400,000 samples had been processed through the lab, the vast majority of which will have been negative results, but an estimated 43,000 people may have been given incorrect negative PCR test results between 8 September and 12 October, mostly in south-west England.
How on earth can this have happened?
No quality control?
Surely common sense should have told them their process was wrong?
Public outcry on social media saw common sense force checks to be made.
Maria Karagkouni, who flew back to the UK from Greece on 14 May, says she was forced to ask the NHS for a test after the private contractor, Dante Labs, failed to process the ones she had paid £116 for. Speaking to the Guardian from her Kent home, she was still waiting for her first test result more than 10 days after it was due.
“Trying to get hold of anyone at Dante is impossible as the company doesn’t have a phone number, and ignores all emails. It has hundreds of terrible reviews on Trustpilot and Facebook. Why it was even on the government list is beyond me. I will be asking to a chargeback from my bank to get my money back,” she says.
Paolo Grossi used the government list to book his two- and eight-day tests, after returning from Milan 10 days ago. The provider booked him an appointment at his local Camden clinic where swabs were to be taken. “On day two I was supposed to visit the clinic to be tested but ‘test and trace’ called to tell me I could not attend as I was not to leave the house. This contradicted what I had read on the government website, what I had been told by border force staff at Heathrow, and the clinic itself,” he says.
Ongoing problems, no controls
May 2021Maria Karagkouni, who flew back to the UK from Greece on 14 May, says she was forced to ask the NHS for a test after the private contractor, Dante Labs, failed to process the ones she had paid £116 for. Speaking to the Guardian from her Kent
The private laboratory that is under investigation for potentially issuing more than 40,000 false negative Covid tests was not fully accredited to perform the work, contrary to assurances made by health officials.
The UK’s independent accreditation service, Ukas, told the Guardian on Monday that neither Immensa Health Clinics Ltd nor its sister company, Dante Labs, had ever been accredited by the service, and that it had informed the Department of Health that statements suggesting otherwise were incorrect.
The private laboratory that is under investigation for potentially issuing more than 40,000 false negative Covid tests was not fully accredited to perform the work, contrary to assurances made by health officials.The UK’s independent accreditation