UK home coronavirus tests to be sold to public 'within days'

  • Thousands of 15-minute home coronavirus tests will be available to the British public within days, said a director of Public Health England (PHE). 

    They will be sold on the high street (in chemists) or delivered by Amazon to those in self-isolation with COVID-19 symptoms. 

    MPs on the science and technology committee were told that once the tests are cleared, they will be "distributed to the community". 

    This was announced by Prof Sharon Peacock, director of the national infection service at PHE, and health secretary Matt Hancock said the UK government is ordering millions more of the coronavirus tests after buying 3.5m of them on Tuesday.

    The Guardian reported that the test, "which looks like a pregnancy test and involves pricking the finger to produce a drop of blood, which is then analysed by the device, will first be validated in Oxford to ensure it works as well as scientists hope."

    It is considered widely by medical professionals that once a person has COVID-19, they are then thereafter immune to it. It is also thought that if a person does get the virus a second time, they cannot transmit it to others.

    With these home tests, people will be able to know if they have had the virus and are therefore possibly immune, meaning they may not need to work from home anymore and can resume their normal routines.

    The test detects the presence of an antibody, IGM, which arises very early on in the infection, and IGG, which is increased in the body’s response to the virus. The results of some of the tests on order can be read by anyone, but others would need to be interpreted by healthcare professionals, according to the Guardian.

    Prof Peacock commented that she thinks charges for the tests will be minimal.

    She added that “tests are being ordered across Europe and elsewhere and purchased in south-east Asia. This is widespread practice. We are not alone in doing this."

    Northern Ireland's department of health today announced that a network of new Primary Care COVID-19 centres is being rapidly established to manage the growth of coronavirus cases in the community. 

    Health Minister Robin Swann said that these centres "are not testing facilities and are only for patients who are very unwell, are suspected of having COVID-19 and require medical attention. Patients will not be able to report directly to these centres without being referred by their GP or Out of Hours provider."

    He continued: “Whilst the centres will help to free up GP services to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital we balance this with the need for primary care services to continue with the minimum of disruption.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story