Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that a new swab test for COVID-19 that provides results in 20 minutes is being trialled.
Matt Hancock reported that the new test is of interest to the Government ‘because it is so fast’. The new swab test does not need to be sent to a lab, instead the results are available on site in 20 minutes. The test can indicate whether a person currently has COVID-19 and is being trialled for six weeks with up to 4000 people in Hampshire. Mr Hancock added that ‘if it works, we’ll roll it out as soon as we can’.
Additionally, the Government has struck a deal with Roche and Abbot to provide more than 10 million antibody tests to the NHS. These are due to be rolled out next week ‘in a phased way’, to health and care staff, patients and residents. The devolved nations will also be supplied with the tests.
Mr Hancock commented on the importance of this new testing, saying: ‘It’s not just about the clinical advances that these tests can bring’, they also aid understanding which groups are at higher risk for catching or transmitting the virus, allowing the government to develop systems that ‘ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do.'