Coronavirus: New tests which detect COVID-19 in 90 minutes to be rolled out next week

Rob Powell, political correspondent
·2-min read
The Nudgebox can diagnose COVID-19 in just over an hour
The Nudgebox can diagnose COVID-19 in just over an hour

New rapid tests that can detect coronavirus in just 90 minutes will start to be used in care homes and labs from next week.

The two new types of test do not require trained health staff to operate them and can also pick up other winter viruses.

Currently most results from tests carried out in-person are returned the following day, while home kits take longer.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "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."

Boris Johnson says he wants 500,000 coronavirus tests to be available every day by October amid fears of possible further waves in the winter.

450,000 LamPORE tests will be made available to care homes and labs in England from next week, with millions more to come later in the year.

The machines that process the tests come in desktop and palm versions and will be used in 'pop-up labs' as well as in existing facilities.

A new DNA test will also be rolled out with 5,000 Nudgebox machines given to hospitals across the UK from September.

Eight London hospitals are already using the machines which analyse DNA in nose swabs to detect the virus.

It comes as the government prepares to convene a round table meeting with care home providers who have been unable to access regular testing.

Last week, Sky News revealed that two major UK care firms were unable to access regular testing because of an issue with a government supplier.

Labour's Jonathan Ashworth said: "With infections rising, it's frankly negligent ministers have failed to deliver on their promise to regularly test care home residents and staff."

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The Department of Health and Social Care insists it is sending thousands of tests to care homes but did admit that supplier issues have caused delays.

Ministers hope the fact that no clinical training is needed to operate these new rapid test machines will allow them to be used in a wider range of settings.