The UK Government has announced that the two new rapid swab tests are capable of differentiating between Covid-19 and other seasonal viruses such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which will be ‘hugely beneficial’ come the flu season, authorities say, and ITIJ suspects, especially useful in the face of a second wave of the pandemic.
LamPORE, one of the solutions, is an on-the-spot solution, which processes swab and saliva samples to detect the presence of Covid-19 in 60 to 90 minutes. The desktop GridION machine can process up to 15,000 LamPORE tests a day, or the palm-sized MinION can process up to 2,000 tests a day for deployment in a near-community ‘pop-up’ lab. 450,000 of the new LamPORE tests will be available from next week across adult care settings, NHS laboratories and lighthouse laboratories, with millions more tests to be rolled out later in the year, GOV.UK says.
Meanwhile, DnaNudge’s 5,000 DNA ‘Nudgebox’ machines will be rolled out across NHS hospitals in the UK to analyse DNA in nose swabs, providing a positive or negative result for Covid-19 in 90 minutes, at the point of care. The machines will process up to 15 tests on the spot each day without the need for a laboratory.
According to GOV.UK, neither of the two tests require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.
UK 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."
ITIJ muses that the rollout of these new solutions, if successful, may well also play a part in the quick diagnosis of international travellers. If people are able to quickly obtain Covid-19 diagnosis results, they would not need to quarantine of self-isolate for as long after travelling into the UK.