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

NHS nurses wait for the next patient at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Wolverhampton

The UK will be getting at-home coronavirus test kits within the next few days a Public Health England director has confirmed.

Thousands of 15-minute home tests for the virus will be delivered by Amazon to people with symptoms in self-isolation, and will also be going on sale on the high street within days.

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said: "Several million tests have been purchased for use".

But speaking during the government's daily press briefing on Wednesday, Prof Whitty said the tests would only be rolled out if they were shown to be accurate.

Capacity will then continue to be ramped up towards 250,000 tests per day, according to the department.

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

Prof Peacock explained a small number of tests would be tested in a laboratory before being distributed via Amazon and in places like Boots.

"But we do need to ensure we understand how they operate, because these are brand new tests".

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"In the near future people will be able to order a test that they can test themselves, or go to Boots, or somewhere similar to have their finger prick test done".

The 47-year-old did not have any underlying health conditions, NHS England said.

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.

It is a quick, efficient and safe alternative to going to hospital to take a test, and could end up preventing spreading on a mass scale.

Dr Harries said the shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline staff treating coronavirus patients was a top priority to be tackled - revealing that her own daughter, a junior doctor working for the NHS, had raised the issue.

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

If everybody stuck to the rules on limiting social interaction "this gap will be probably manageable by the NHS", he said, adding: "But we can not guarantee that and nobody who is sensible would wish to guarantee that".

Professor Peacock said antibody tests are also being ordered across Europe and in South East Asia.

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