KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 – The United Kingdom is planning to make available to the public millions of 15-minute home test kits to detect the coronavirus.
The tests would be sold either in Amazon or in chemist shops in a matter of days, and the evaluation of the finger-prick tests should be completed this week, said Prof Sharon Peacock, the director of the national infection service at Public Health England (PHE), according to The Guardian.
“The key thing for us to do is evaluate – are these tests accurate enough to be used by the general public?” Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, was quoted as saying.
“If they are incredibly accurate, we will work out the quickest way to release them. If they are not accurate, we will not release any of them.”
The UK government has purchased a total of 3.5 million tests, which works by collecting a droplet of blood via finger-pricking and analysing the sample.
“Several million tests have been purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do,” Peacock said.
“Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community.”
The tests would show the presence of IGM, an antibody that increases during the early stages of the virus infection, and IGG, which is increased in the body’s response to the virus. The UK is also planning to order millions more tests.
Whitty continued to say that the tests will “completely transform what we can do”. But the antigen tests that were carried out in hospitals to diagnose Covid-19 are more important, according to Whitty.
“We will do it as soon as possible. We are massively ramping up our testing programme,” said UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson.
“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,” explained Peacock.
As of yesterday, a total 9,529 people were confirmed to be Covid-19 positive. The coronavirus death toll in the UK is at 463 patients.