A new test that can detect COVID-19 and flu, and deliver test results within 90 minutes, is to be used in care homes from next week.
The “on-the-spot” swab and DNA tests will help differentiate between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses, the government said, with health secretary Matt Hancock saying that this would be “hugely beneficial” over the winter.
Presently, a third of tests take longer than 24 hours to process.
Two new tests – both able to detect the virus in just 90 minutes – will be made available to NHS hospitals, care homes and labs. The 2 tests will be able to detect both COVID-19 and other winter viruses such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.
This will help to further strengthen the coronavirus response this winter, arming both clinicians and NHS Test and Trace with the ability to distinguish between COVID-19 cases, which have specific self-isolation requirements, and other winter viruses.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’re using the most innovative technologies available to tackle coronavirus. Millions of new rapid coronavirus tests will provide on-the-spot results in under 90 minutes, helping us to break chains of transmission quickly.”
“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.”
“I am hugely grateful for the excellent work done by DnaNudge and Oxford Nanopore to push forward these life-saving innovations in coronavirus testing.”
A new test that uses DNA to detect the virus will be rolled out across NHS hospitals from September, with 5,000 DNA machines, supplied by DnaNudge, to provide 5.8 million tests in the coming months.
Separately, 450,000 90-minute LamPORE swab tests will also be available across adult care setting and laboratories from next week, supplied by Oxford Nanopore.