COVID-19 finger-prick home-testing kit close to being available

On the 25th March, Public Health England informed the UK Government that home-testing kits will soon be made available to order.

The testing-kits will be orderable online and from chemists.

The test will not tell the user if they have the virus, but if they have already recovered from it.

The test is administered by finger-prick and takes around 15 minutes.

The blood sample is then sent off for evaluation.

Director of the National Infection Service for PHE, Professor Sharon Peacock told the government’s Health and Science select committee that the tests were in the customary evaluation stage.

Professor Peacock said the evaluation was a “small matter” that would be “done by the end of the week.”

However, the UK Government’s CMO, Professor Chris Whitty said “I do not think, and I want to be clear, that this is something we’ll suddenly be ordering on the internet next week.”

As stated by the government, priority testing will be given to key workers, especially those in the NHS who are self-isolating through developing symptoms of the virus.

The UK Government is aiming to carry out 25,000 tests per day in the next few weeks.

Although, there is a lack of staff and resources available to carry out testing.

The WHO’s recommendation is that countries “test, test, test” to combat the pandemic.

Professor Peacock said: “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. Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community”.

In response, Professor Whitty said: “The key thing for us to do is evaluate, are these tests accurate enough to be used by the general public?”

“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”.