26 March 2020 00:34
Millions of 15-minute home coronavirus tests are set to be available on the high street or for Amazon delivery to people self-isolating, according to Public Health England (PHE), in a move that could restore many people's lives to a semblance of pre-lockdown normality. Prof Sharon Peacock, the director of the national infection service at PHE, told MPs on the science and technology committee that mass testing in the UK would be possible within days, saying evaluation of the fingerprick tests should be completed this week. The UK government has bought 3.5m tests – which reveal whether someone has had the virus and is therefore thought to have some immunity – and is ordering millions more, it has said. At the prime minister's daily press conference on Wednesday, the government's medical and scientific advisers said they needed to be certain the tests worked before they could be made available. "The key thing for us to do is evaluate – are these tests accurate enough to be used by the general public?" said Chris Whitty, chief medical officer.
The home test, which looks like a pregnancy test, involves pricking a finger to produce a drop of blood, which is then analysed by the device. a new continuous cough - this means you've started coughing repeatedly NHS advice is that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. If you still have a cough after 7 days, but your temperature is normal, you do not need to continue staying at home. Asked if they would be available in days rather than weeks or months, Peacock said: "Yes, absolutely." If there was a charge for them, she thought it would be minimal, she added. NHS workers or anyone else would be able to know if they have had the virus and are therefore immune, which means they could resume their normal lives, no longer having to work from home or keep their distance from other people.
The Government has announced that Britons will be able to conduct coronavirus antibody tests at home within a matter of days with finger-prick kits that will be available from Amazon and Boots. The test, carried out by a device that pricks your finger for blood, works this out by testing your blood for coronavirus antibodies to see if they have already beaten the virus and gained some immunity to it. The coronavirus test that the Government currently uses can only tell whether a person has the virus, not if they have had it and recovered. An antigen test is effective because it can take a few days for the immune system to build enough antibodies to be detected in a test; however, antigens can be detected almost immediately after infection. The test will enable NHS staff to know if they have been infected with - and have recovered from - the virus so can return to work.
"We want to get hundreds of thousands of tests ramped up in the next few weeks per day," he said. Millions of new coronavirus testing kits could be ready in days, rather than weeks or months, according to Public Health England. It would show whether an individual had antibodies for COVID-19 which, if they did, would mean they could return to work if they were not showing symptoms. Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, revealed on Wednesday that millions of such a test have been ordered and could be used "in the near future". Prof Whitty said the tests would first need to be evaluated, and then the main priority for testing will be identifying how many people have had COVID-19 without showing symptoms, and which NHS workers are very likely to be immune. Evidence suggests people cannot catch coronavirus twice in quick succession, if they have already been infected and recovered, the government has said. The tests, which look similar to pregnancy tests, could be ordered on Amazon or taken at high street branches such as Boots, Prof Peacock said. A Boots spokesperson has said the company is "keen to work with the government to explore opportunities to support COVID-19 testing". Appearing before the House of Commons science and technology committee via video link, Prof Peacock said the new tests were "rapidly" being evaluated at a laboratory in Oxford with 3.5 million having already been ordered. She added: "In the near future people will be able to order a test so they can test themselves or go to Boots or somewhere similar to have their finger-prick test done." Asked if the availability of the test to the public would be a number of days rather than weeks or months, she replied: "Absolutely." Prof Peacock told the committee there are "two different models", with one possible model being a test that is ordered via Amazon and performed at home before being sent back to see whether someone tests positive or negative for coronavirus. Public Health England will be asking some people to have a second blood test, checked with a "gold standard" test, to make sure the kits are working properly, Prof Peacock said. The home test for coronavirus will involve pricking a finger (PA) Home testing kits for coronavirus will be available from Amazon and Boots within days, according to Public Health England (PHE). The test, which will involve pricking a finger to produce a drop of blood, will crucially be able if a person has already had Covid-19. But Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the national infection service at PHE, told MPs on Wednesday that millions of the tests have been ordered and could be used 'in the near future'. Asked if the availability of the kits will be a matter of days rather than weeks Professor Peacock replied: 'Absolutely.' Professor Peacock said: 'Several million tests have been purchased for use. 'In the near future people will be able to order a test so they can test themselves or go to Boots or somewhere similar to have their finger-prick test done.'