Amazon to start delivering coronavirus tests to Brits at home this week – and they give results in 48 hours
The test is a throat swab that will be picked up an hour after it is completed and results are sent back via text message.
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The scheme is set to be piloted this week using Amazon logistics, The Times reports.
The test will only show if someone does or does not have Covid-19, unlike the antibody test that can show if someone has recovered from the virus.
Key workers are set to be prioritised, but there are plans to make the test available for people self-isolating at home.
Mass testing has been considered the key to seeing the current lockdown restrictions lifted as Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to have 100,000 tests carried out a day by the end of the month.
Only 18,665 tests were carried out in the past 24 hours to 9am yesterday, despite the Government saying there is a capacity to do 35,000 a day.
The Government will look to test other key workers such as police, prison staff and fire fighters to boost their numbers, as well as studying if regular testing for NHS staff is needed.
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Mr Hancock is expected to be quizzed by MPs today over the Government's coronavirus response, one day after the current lockdown measures were extended by at least another three weeks.
He is expected to face questions on PPE and an exit strategy as he appears before a virtual session of the Commons Health Committee.
The Institute of Biomedical Science, the body which represents NHS biomedical scientists, said they are being held back from ramping up testing by a lack of kits – not a lack of capacity.
NHS labs were still struggling to source kits and reagents, IBMS president Allan Wilson said.
He said: "The 17,000 NHS laboratory workers that I represent are increasingly expressing their frustration.
"They have applied themselves innovatively to increase Covid-19 testing capacity and have the platforms ready so that the NHS laboratories are able to meet the Secretary of State's ambitious target, but they are still not able to source the testing kits and reagents they require.
"It concerns me when I see significant investments being made in mass testing centres that are planning to conduct 75,000 of the 100,000 tests a day.
"These facilities would be a welcome resource and take pressure off the NHS if the issue around testing was one of capacity.
"However, we are clear that it is a global supply shortage holding biomedical scientists back, not a lack of capacity."
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care did not confirm the report and neither did Amazon's press office when contacted.
Coronavirus testing: What is the difference between antigen and antibody tests?
Coronavirus tests are key to getting a clearer idea of the scale of the outbreak in the UK and getting a handle on it.
In recent days, there's been a lot of talk about the two different types of tests that the government are ramping up.
The government refers to them as the 'have you got it' antigen test or the 'have you had it' antibody test.
Here we explain the difference between the two…
What is an antigen test?
Antigens are found on the surface of invading pathogens, including coronavirus.
Testing for antigens can determine whether someone is currently carrying the virus and are actively infectious.
The NHS is currently using antigen tests in hospitals to determine if someone is currently infected with Covid-19.
Samples are taken using a swab – which resemble a large cotton bud – from deep inside the nose and throat before being sent off to a lab for testing.
Most labs use a method called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which takes several hours to get a result.
It can take days for labs to run the tests and tell people their result.
Several companies are working on ways to fast track this type of testing.
What is an antibody test?
When a person gets infected with antigen, the body starts making specially designed proteins called antibodies in response – as a way to fight the infection.
After they recover, those antibodies float in the blood for months, maybe even years.
That's the body's way of defending itself in case it becomes infected with the virus again.
So an antibody test specifically looks for antibodies which will be able to tell whether you've already been exposed to Covid-19.
Anyone who has already had the illness is presumed to be immune to getting it again – at least, in the intermediate term.
This would allow them to go back to work safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to become infected again or pass the virus on.
The check that has been developed for Covid-19 is a finger-prick blood test, with the samples sent to laboratories and results available within a few days.
Dr Hilary Jones, a GP and resident doctor on Good Morning Britain, explained that it works "almost like a pregnancy test, except you need a drop of blood".
These tests are being developed by several different firms and Public Health England (PHE) is also working on its own test.
They still need to be validated to ensure they give accurate results
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