Mass Home Testing For Coronavirus To Be Available 'Within Days'

Samples are tested

It is unclear whether the tests would be available for purchase outside of the UK.

While we don't yet have a precise date, speaking to the Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday, Professor Sharon Peacock - director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England (PHE) - said that as many as 3.5 million tests have now been bought.

Asked if she meant the tests would be ready for roll-out within days rather than weeks, she said: "Absolutely".

Wearing a protective suit, a research and development company employee works on the production of coronavirus testing kits in Turkey.

The antibody test will aim to establish whether somebody has recovered from COVID-19, rather than whether they now have it.

The NHS could start testing hundreds of thousands of people per day for Covid-19 within a matter of weeks, NHS England's medical director has said.

The revelation is some much needed good news for NHS staff, who will be able to go back to work without worrying about isolation, or worse infecting those around them, if they have developed antibodies.

"We can not stop this pandemic if we do not know who is infected", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

Prof Peacock said the validation process should be completed tis week and the test will then be available to test healthcare workers and also the general public. These are brand new products.

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.

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

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.

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 tests "can see if you have antibodies, in which case you know you had the infection", she added. "We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do", she said.

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