Health Care

Coronavirus: Virus test with 20-minute results being trialled in Hampshire

Earlier this month, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was the possibility of issuing some kind of certificate based on immunity but that scientists still needed to know more about that subject area.

"As we're already trusted by communities for health and wellbeing advice, it seems natural that patients and customers would look to their pharmacy as a convenient and highly accessible source for any antibody test, and indeed for any vaccine in the future", they said.

"We're not yet in a position to say that those who test positive in these antibody tests are immune from coronavirus".

The antibody tests will be free to access through the National Health Service and care workers would be prioritized, Hancock said.

Hancock also revealed that around 17 percent of people in London, and around five percent or higher elsewhere in the country, had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, according to a small population sample. "If it works, we'll roll it out as soon as we can".

'Three further tests are being assessed right now, ' the health secretary added.

This applies to England, with the devolved nations to make their own decisions on prioritisation of the tests that they will be allocated from the United Kingdom total.

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Separately, the health department announced that the trial of the new, rapid test to see whether people were carrying the virus had begun in Hampshire.

In contrast to widely-used PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests, which need be processed at different temperatures, the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (Lamp) swab test does not require a change in temperature to detect results.

Also speaking at the No 10 briefing, Prof John Newton, who is in charge of the government's testing efforts, said quick test results were a key element.

One apparent holdup for the test and trace system has been delays to a bespoke NHS phone app, which is meant to track all the people with whom someone who tests positive has come into recent contact with, by communicating with others' phones.

Hancock played down the importance of the delayed app in the process.

He said the new swab test "is interesting to us because it is so fast", adding: "You get the result on the spot".

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