After the government suspended regular testing, the UK Health Security Agency has had its budget slashed by the Treasury.
The public health body, which was set up by Boris Johnson to help guide the country through the pandemic, has, as a result, proposed the suspension of regular asymptomatic testing in hospitals and care homes this month.
Professor Denis Kinane, who is an immunologist and founding scientist of Cignpost Diagnostics, has warned that moving away from testing and surveillance will “leave us exposed” in the event of a new variant.
He told Sky News: “The pandemic is most definitely not yet over and we still need to remain cautious about what future turn COVID might take.
“Without asymptomatic testing for those having contact with the NHS and care homes, we are likely to see a rise in infection rates and hospitalisations. This is likely to be exacerbated by the shortage in the number of lateral flow tests.”
Prof Kinane added that removing asymptomatic testing means people in hospitals and care homes “will pose a greater risk” to people with compromised immune systems.