Expert claims Covid passport backed by Zara Tindall ‘misuses antibody tests’

A coronavirus passport app promoted by Zara Tindall has been reported to a health regulator over concerns it is mis-selling antibody tests.

The V-Health Passport was touted as a "game-changer" to get fans back into stadiums and major sporting events.

It involves spectators getting a rapid antibody test prior to attending an event, with results uploaded on a health passport on an app.

But the app was reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) by Jon Deeks, professor of biostatistics at the University of Birmingham.

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(left to right) The Duke of Sussex, Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge greet Queen Elizabeth II as she arrives for the Easter Mattins Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Windsor.
Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall arrive at St Mary Magdalene's church for the Royal Family's Christmas Day service on the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain, December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Britain - March 13, 2019 Zara and Mike Tindall before the racing REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Autumn Phillips, with Peter Phillips, Zara Phillips, and Mike Tindal, from left, hold onto their hats as they arrive for the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Britain, October 12, 2018. Alastair Grant/Pool via REUTERS
Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall arrives at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, in Windsor, Britain May 19, 2018. Gareth Fuller/Pool via REUTERS
MIke Tindall and Zara Tindall arrive at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Saturday May 19, 2018. Andrew Milligan/Pool via REUTERS
Mike and Zara Tindall attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
Britain Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 16/3/17 Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall during Cheltenham Festival Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Zara and Mike Tindall leave with Britain's Queen Elizabeth after they attended the Patron's Lunch on the Mall, an event to mark the queen's 90th birthday, in London, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Mike and Zara Tindall arrive for a service of thanksgiving to mark the 90th birthday of Britain's Queen Elizabeth at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Britain, June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 17/3/16 Zara Phillips arrives at Cheltenham with her husband Mike Tindall Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 8/7/15 Men's Singles - Zara Phillips with husband Mike Tindall on court 1 during the quarter finals Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - Ascot Racecourse - 19/6/15 Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall as they wait to present a trophy Reuters / Toby Melville Livepic
Britain's Zara Philips and her husband Mike Tindall leave after the christening of Prince George at St James's Palace in London October 23, 2013. REUTERS/John Stillwell/pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)
Britain's Zara Phillips (center L) walks with her husband Mike Tindall (center R) in the unsaddling enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meet in Gloucestershire, western England March 12, 2013. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING ROYALS)
Britain's Zara Phillips (R) reacts while talking to Chanelle McCoy (unseen), the wife of jockey Tony McCoy, as her husband Mike Tindall stands by her in the unsaddling enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meet in Gloucestershire, western England March 12, 2013. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING ROYALS)
Olympics - London 2012 Olympic Games - Greenwich Park - 31/7/12 Equestrian - Eventing - Great Britain's Zara Phillips (L) with her husband England rugby player Mike Tindall after her jumping qualifier run Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic PLEASE NOTE: FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Darts - 2012 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship - Alexandra Palace, London - 2/1/12 England's Mike Tindall (L) and Zara Phillips watch the final Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic
Darts - 2012 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship - Alexandra Palace, London - 2/1/12 England's Mike Tindall (L) and Zara Phillips watch the final Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and her new husband England rugby captain Mike Tindall leave Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland, July 31, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY SPORT)
Britain's Zara Philips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, arrives back at Holyrood Palace after her marriage to England rugby captain Mike Tindall, at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Phil Wilkinson/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS SPORT)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, arrives for her wedding to England rugby captain Mike Tindall, at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and her husband England rugby captain Mike Tindall, leave the church after their marriage at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and her husband England rugby captain Mike Tindall, leave the church after their marriage at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and her husband England rugby captain Mike Tindall, leave the church following their wedding at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 30, 2011. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY SPORT)
Britain's Zara Philips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, kisses her husband rugby captain Mike Tindall, after their marriage at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 30, 2011. REUTERS/David McNie/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS SPORT IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Britain's Zara Philips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, kisses her husband rugby captain Mike Tindall, after their marriage at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 30, 2011. REUTERS/David McNie/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS SPORT IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and England rugby captain Mike Tindall, leave with Mark Phillips (rear) after their wedding rehearsal at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SPORT SOCIETY)
Britain's Zara Phillips (L), the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and England rugby captain Mike Tindall (R), arrive for their wedding rehearsal, at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY SPORT)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and England rugby captain Mike Tindall leave after their wedding rehearsal, at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY SPORT)
Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and England rugby captain Mike Tindall leave after their wedding rehearsal at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS SPORT)
Zara Phillips and her fiance Mike Tindall pose for photographs at their home in Gloucestershire, south-west England December 21, 2010. Phillips, the granddaughter of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, is to marry rugby player Tindall, the royal family said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Tim Ireland/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SPORT RUGBY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Zara Phillips and her fiance Mike Tindall pose for photographs at their home in Gloucestershire, south-west England December 21, 2010. Phillips, the granddaughter of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, is to marry rugby player Tindall, the royal family said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Tim Ireland/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SPORT RUGBY)
Britain's Zara Phillips (L) and her boyfriend England's rugby player Mike Tindall attend The Cheltenham Festival horse racing meet in Gloucestershire, western England March 18, 2010. REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING ROYALS)
Mike Tindall and his girlfriend Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, watch before her performance in the Jump starters during the European Equestrian Championship at the Pratoni Del Vivaro in southern Rome in this September 16, 2007 file photo. Despite controversies the Six Nations team faced last year including a police investigation into allegations of sexual assault by four players during the tour of New Zealand and Danny Cipriani's omission from the team to face Scotland for staying out late, centre Tindall is rewarded for his fine form by being named in Martin Johnson's starting team to face Italy in the opening Six Nations match on Saturday. To match feature RUGBY-NATIONS/ENGLAND REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Files (ITALY)
Britain's Zara Phillips smiles with her boyfriend Mike Tindall after receiving her Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) from her grandmother the Queen at Buckingham Palace in London November 28, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Parsons/Pool (BRITAIN)
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 15/3/07 Zara Phillips and England rugby union player Mike Tindall Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Scott Heavey Livepic
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 15/3/07 Zara Phillips and England rugby union player Mike Tindall Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Scott Heavey Livepic
Britain's Phillips talks with England rugby player Tindall on the final day of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival. Britain's Zara Phillips (C), granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, has a drink with boyfriend England rugby player Mike Tindall (R) and an unidentifed man on the final day of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival meeting in Gloucestershire, central England, March 18, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Finn-Kelcey
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He said that, while he did not take issue with the app itself, the advert promoting the passport was "mis-selling an antibody test".

Government guidelines state an antibody test can show whether a person has had coronavirus but cannot detect if someone currently has it, while the NHS says the tests do not work for everyone as some people who have contracted the virus do not have antibodies.

Prof Deeks told the PA news agency: "In the advert, Zara and Mike Tindall were being told they don't have the virus – you can't say that.

"This could do harm, with people getting into sporting events with negative results while they are infectious.

"I have no problem with the app, it's the use of the app, a lot of health professionals have seen it with their head in their hands."

The coronavirus passport, created by Manchester-based tech firm VST Enterprises Ltd, was backed by Olympian Ms Tindall, the Queen's granddaughter, and her husband, former rugby player Mike Tindall.

In a video promoting the passport app, the couple, who are both sporting ambassadors for VST Enterprises, are shown taking antibody tests which produced negative results.

The silver Olympic medal-winning equestrian said in the video: "I think it's really important for reassurance for everyone in our sport (equestrian), riders and support staff, the volunteers and the fans can see and have confidence to come back to the sport that we love, and get back to supporting the sport and having those big events running again."

Promoting the app with the Tindalls, Louis-James Davis, chief executive of VST Enterprises, said in August: "We believe this is a game-changer for all sports fans, not just in the UK but around the world."

Prof Deeks said: "I don't think people setting up the app had enough medical advice. This is a complete misuse of an antibody test, it is not approved for use for screening infection."

He said a PCR test, which detects whether a person currently has the virus and requires lab analysis, would be more appropriate.

VST Enterprises submitted its proposals for pilot tests, called Fans Are Back, to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in July.

In response to the issues raised by Prof Deeks, its spokesman said: "VST Enterprises believes his concerns are completely unfounded and that it would have been better for him to raise queries or concerns with the company."

The company said in a statement that it does not promote or recommend any specific Covid test or manufacturer.

It added: "VST Enterprises has fully engaged with the MHRA concerning Prof Deeks' 'concerns' around rapid tests and immunity passports, and VST Enterprise believes it has fully satisfied the MHRA request for clarification that it is not in fact an immunity passport."

Mr and Mrs Tindall declined to comment.

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