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

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

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

According to Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the national infection service at Public Health England (PHE), mass testing in the UK could be possible by next week and the charge - if any at all - will be minimal.

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The Guardian reports that thousands of 15-minute home tests for the virus will be distributed by Amazon and will be available for sale on the high street at chemists like Boots.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the UK government has purchased 3.5 million of the tests, with millions more to be ordered

The antibody test will detect the presence of the antibodies IGM, which emerge in the early stages of infection, and IGG, which increase during the body's response to the virus. The test involves pricking a finger and then analysing a drop of blood in a device that looks similar to a pregnancy test, and will tell the person using it if they have - or had - COVID-19.

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The news comes as the UK has entered lockdown in an attempt to stop the further spread of the novel coronavirus, and will hopefully allow people - including NHS doctors and nurses - to make quicker and more accurate decisions about the patients they are seeing who have symptoms.

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At the current moment in time, only patients admitted to hospital are being routinely tested for Covid-19, but that's set to change with the introduction of these tests. Right now, somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 people are being tested on a daily basis, but the UK 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.

"Several million tests have been purchased for use," said Professor Peacock, who said the antibody tests are also being ordered across Europe and Southeast Asia. "These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do. Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community."

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) urging governments to 'test, test, test', the move is being praised as the next important step in the fight against coronavirus.

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

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: uk news, Coronavirus

Mischa Pearlmen

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]