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

Capillary blood is drawn from a fingertip during a demonstration of a coronavirus test

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

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

Chris Whitty confirmed the tests were being evaluated and said if they worked they would be given to NHS staff first.

They heard two models were being looked at - one which involves ordering the kit online and performing the test at home, before sending it back to get the result.

"The kits which are required to do this testing are being manufactured as we speak".

The World Health Organisation has urged countries to step up testing in the global fight against coronavirus.

This is anticipated to be completed by the end of the week.

The UK government has reportedly bought 3.5 million of the tests and plans to buy millions more in a bid to tackle the crisis head on.

The tests, which show whether someone has or has had the virus, will then be available for health workers and the public, she said.

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She told the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons the tests would be as simple as a pregnancy test.

"Once they have been tested, and that will happen this week, once the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community", she said, adding that the they could be delivered via Amazon.

"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". Except that you're putting a finger with a spot of blood on there.

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.

Patients who have already contracted COVID-19 produce antibodies, which are detected by the test.

"This is not just for key workers, it's for the general population".

He said: "I understand why NHS staff, in particular, and others across public service are so keen to get the testing ramped up, that we need to see and that we are undertaking".

Speaking to MPs, she said that if there is a charge for home testing, she believes it will be minimal.

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