Covid-19 home tests available soon, government scientist says

Cheryl Sanders
March 25, 2020

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Home testing for coronavirus is set to be available to people in the United Kingdom "within days", according to a health official.

When asked if the test would be available in "days" rather than weeks, she confirmed: "Absolutely".

"Several million tests have ben purchased for use".

"Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community".

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this month that he had a "simple message" for governments: "Test, test, test".

"As the global demand for our COVID-19 test continues to increase, we are pleased to have rapidly established a relationship with the expert team at Yourgene to further expand our manufacturing capacity", Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said.

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.

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", Peacock told lawmakers.

Peacock said that the tests were now being evaluated to confirm whether they worked, which she said would happen by the end of the week, after which "several million" would be rolled out across the country.

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

He insisted that "bad tests are worse than no tests".

The kits resemble a home pregnancy test and require patients to prick their fingers before placing a drop of blood in the test zone.

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.

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.

"This is not just for key workers, it's for the general population".

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

He said they "will allow people to see whether they have had the virus and are immune to it and can go back to work".

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