Boots will be offering a COVID-19 nasal swab test that will show results in 12 minutes. The test and the devices used to administer it have been approved in Europe and the US.
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More than 50 stores across the UK will be offering this test, which will cost £120 and be available to anyone not showing symptoms.
The test has been trialled on more than 500 patients, demonstrating accurate detection of COVID-19 in 97% of cases in the sample group.
LumiraDx is the life sciences company that has developed the test. The company is based in the UK and has negotiated a deal with the Scottish NHS, whereby they will act as key suppliers.
There are several “rapid tests” currently being developed; however, this one is thought to be significantly quicker than others which are still in their trial phase. The average delivery time for results on the other tests is currently sitting at 90 minutes. By detecting COVID-19 antigen proteins, LumiraDX’s development delivers results almost immediately.
The test comes as a relief to those who need to travel and require testing beforehand. People will also be able to get the test for peace of mind and as an extra precaution when seeing loved ones. The test, however, is not available to those who have symptoms or who thinks they may have the virus. Anyone who has symptoms is still advised to go to an NHS testing station for confirmation of their results.
The launch will potentially extend to 200 stores should the testing prove to be a successful operation, and the demand for the test be enough.
In addition to producing rapid results, the equipment can also upload results to a cloud storage system. The testing process could, therefore, also help with tracking and tracing of outbreaks.
The UK has faced significant challenges with the current testing systems in place. Last week, official figures showed that only 15.1% of people having tests are getting their results within 24 hours. This raises concerns, as experts have said that quick and accurate turnarounds are essential to keep the second wave of the virus contained while we wait for a vaccine.