New rapid coronavirus and flu tests can provide results in 90 minutes - here’s how they work

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 11:02 am
Updated Monday, 3rd August 2020, 11:02 am
New coronavirus and flu tests which give results within 90 minutes will be rolled out in the UK from next week (Photo: Shutterstock)
New coronavirus and flu tests which give results within 90 minutes will be rolled out in the UK from next week (Photo: Shutterstock)

New coronavirus and flu tests which give results within 90 minutes will be rolled out in the UK from next week.

However, not everyone will be able to access these tests, as it will only be made available in certain places. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the new rapid tests?

The government has said that these new ‘on-the-spot’ swab tests and DNA tests will help to identify between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock explained how the new rapid tests can detect not only coronavirus, but flu too.

"The fact these tests can detect flu as well as Covid-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others,” he said.

The tests will enable clinicians and the NHS Test and Trace system to determine whether an infected person needs to immediately self-isolate due to coronavirus, or whether they are instead suffering from seasonal flu.

Gov.uk explains, “The tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.”

How long will the rapid tests take?

Currently, the result of a standard coronavirus tests can take anything from 24 hours to two days, but these new tests - which can analyse swabs in pop-up mobile labs - provide results in an hour and a half.

Nearly half a million of these new rapid swab tests, named LamPORE, will be available from next week.

Who is eligible for these tests?

At first, the 90 minute tests will only be available in adult care settings, such as care homes, and laboratories.

Regular testing of residents and staff was meant to have started on 6 July 2020, but this will now be pushed back until 7 September for older people and those with dementia.

Millions more of the new tests, which are supplied by Oxford Nanopore, are then due to be rolled out later in the year.

Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore, said, “LamPORE has the potential to deliver a highly effective and, crucially, accessible global testing solution, not only for Covid-19 but for a range of other pathogens.”

Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, told BBC Breakfast that 450,000 Oxford Nanopore LamPORE tests will be rolled out from next week. DnaNudge test machines then will go into NHS laboratories and other settings in the coming months.

What are the DNA test machines?

Alongside the swab tests, around 5,000 DNA test machines, which can analyse nose swabs, will be rolled out across NHS hospitals labs and other settings from September 2020, with the hope of providing for 5.8 million tests.