New 90-minute coronavirus and flu tests to be rolled out from next week
The Government has announced two new tests for Covid-19 and flu, which can return results in around 90 minutes.
The tests will be deployed in hospitals, care homes and laboratories across the country from next week and they have been hailed as a crucial instrument in the fight against coronavirus.
The newly-announced tests will be able to offer a much quicker speed in terms of results and it will also be able to detect not just Covid-19 but other seasonal illnesses.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Millions of new rapid coronavirus tests will provide on-the-spot results in under 90 minutes, helping us to break chains of transmission quickly.
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“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.”
There are currently two tests available for Covid-19 – the swab test and the finger-prick test.
The swab test involves a deep swab of the nose or the back of the throat and is used to determine whether someone is currently infected with the illness, however there are concerns about how invasive it is alongside how long it takes for people to receive their results.
The finger-prick test is used to identify the presence of Covid-19 antibodies in a person’s blood and therefore can only tell someone if they have had the virus.
The current tests take a substantial amount of time to be processed, with most people taking between 24 and 72 hours to receive their results.
The new tests will be crucial as Britain heads into winter, as they will be able to quickly and easily identify whether sufferers will need to self-isolate.
They also provides a significant boost to contact-tracing capabilities, enabling authorities to more-rapidly intervene and break potential chains of transmission throughout the community.
According to the Gov.UK website, 115,939 coronavirus tests were carried out on Sunday, August 2, while almost 8.4 million tests have been carried out since the outbreak began.
The latest figures from Public Health England show there have been 15,367 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the North East.