A BRAND new test that detects coronavirus in just over an HOUR has been given the green light – and it could be on sale for £40 within weeks.
No medical expertise is needed to use the DnaNudge test, and it’s not as invasive as other types of swab because it can detect the virus from the nostril alone.
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Brits will soon be able to buy the test to use themselves at home as inventors plan to rapidly expand production to 300,000 tests a month as part of a Deliveroo-style service.
It’s expected that companies will also be using the test to get workers back into offices.
NHS and care workers on the frontline have been able to access testing through the health service and huge pop-up drive-throughs since March.
Initially, progress was slow, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock met his target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.
The Government now plans to offer more than 200,000 tests a day, and Mr Hancock has revealed all elderly care home residents and staff will finally be tested for coronavirus by the start of June.
DnaNudge – which will be used as part of the testing regime – can tell the difference between a person who doesn’t have the disease at all and a sample which wasn’t taken properly, meaning there aren’t any false negatives, reports The Times.
‘IT’S BEEN HEARTBREAKING’
Once a swab is taken, it’s inserted into a handheld reader that provides results within just 75 minutes.
It means samples don’t need to be sent to labs during a process that can take up to 72 hours.
Officials have been trialling the test since April, with 10,000 kits used in London hospitals.
Manufacturers say it means patients arriving at hospital in need of emergency surgery can be assessed quickly and surgeons won’t require the use of unnecessary PPE.
The kit has now been approved by a watchdog, and tens of thousands more have been delivered to A&E, maternity units and cancer wards at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, West Middlesex University Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital.
Dr Gary Davies, medical director of Chelsea and Westminster, said that the test transformed how the hospital dealt with suspected coronavirus patients.
What types of test are currently available?
DnaNudge offers results in just 75 minutes – and Brits will be able to buy the tests for £40 and use them at home. The swab is just one of a number of tests for coronavirus that are either currently available or in development:
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced this week that an “on-the-spot” kit is being trialled that can diagnose Covid-19 in 20 minutes. The swab test could be rolled out within just weeks. It’s currently being trialled in Hampshire in some A&E departments, GP testing hubs and care homes. The trial will run for six weeks and test up to 4,000 people. However, it’s believed the test isn’t at the same stage as DnaNudge, which is likely to be available to Brits first
- Two antibody tests have been approved by the Government so far. They will be rolled out to NHS workers from next week. Unlike the finger-prick tests, those developed by Roche and Abbott require blood to be taken by a medical professional before the sample is sent to the lab for analysis. The Roche test picks up 100 per cent of cases where somebody has had coronavirus in the past and can deliver results in 18 minutes
- At the moment, most labs use a method called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It can take days for labs to run the tests, meaning medics often can’t tell patients if they have the virus for 72 hours
“We were having to use all the side rooms for patients who were waiting for test results,” he said.
“Other vulnerable patients, such as people undergoing cancer treatment, had nowhere to go.
“It is heartbreaking for mothers who are unable to see their baby while waiting for lab test results.
“Now the mother-baby bonding can be immediate.”
The new test was developed by a team at Imperial College London.
Scientists adapted it from a consumer test that uses a person’s genetic profile to give them a diet plan.
A clinical trial involving 500 symptomatic and asymptomatic patients found that the test could detect positive cases more than 97 per cent of the time and negative cases 100 per cent of the time.
News of the DnaNudge test was announced during the same week that Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed an “on-the-spot” kit which can diagnose Covid-19 in just 20 minutes has been developed.
The swab test, which can show if someone currently has the virus, is now being trialled and could be rolled out within weeks.
However, it’s understood DnaNudge – while taking longer to provide a result – is likely to be available to Brits much sooner.
No10 confirmed it had agreed a deal with Roche to roll out the kits free of charge to those who need them.
The antibody test can show whether someone has previously had coronavirus – may have therefore developed immunity to the bug.
Meanwhile, a swab test – known as an antigen test – can tell if a person is currently infected and should self-isolate to stop the spread.
Experts said it could help save the British summer by allowing people to instantly show they are infection free before and after they travel.
Yesterday, coronavirus fatalities in the UK rose to 36,393 after 351 more deaths were recorded.
Hancock confirms new 20-min coronavirus antibody test could give diagnosis ‘on the spot’ and will roll out next week
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