Coronavirus: UK home testing kits 'out in days'

Capillary blood is drawn from a fingertip during a demonstration of a coronavirus test

"But we do need to ensure we understand how they operate, because these are brand new tests".

The tests come in two different models: one could be ordered at home from somewhere like Amazon and be sent back to be analysed, while another would be an instant finger prick, likely available in places like Boots, which could offer results in as soon as 10-15 minutes.

Asked whether this meant it would be available in a number of days, rather than weeks or months, she said "absolutely".

"Several million tests have been purchased for use", said Prof Peacock.

The tests are created to establish whether people have previously been infected with coronavirus, as opposed to antigen tests which show if someone has the virus as they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

At a daily press briefing on the coronavirus crisis on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his specialist medical advisers confirmed the government was working on increasing the rate of testing, prioritising health workers.

Right now, somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 people are being tested on a daily basis, but the United Kingdom government plans to increase this to 25,000 tests a day within four weeks - once the testing of them has been concluded in the next few days.

The World Health Organisation has urged countries to step up testing in the global fight against coronavirus. "We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do", she said.


"I am talking of hundreds of thousands of tests".

She told the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons the tests would be as simple as a pregnancy test.

The other would involve going somewhere like Boots where the prick test could be conducted and then a drop of blood would be put on a filter paper and tested. Except that you're putting a finger with a spot of blood on there.

We don't yet know what a test is expected to cost, but the Professor believes, if anything, the cost will be "minimal".

Rather than testing for current infection, the tests would check to see whether an individual had COVID-19 antibodies, which would indicate if someone had previously had the disease.

Professor Peacock today added: "This is not just for key workers, it's for the general population".

"And that will allow them to get back to work".

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