The U.K. is set to make home testing for coronavirus widely available in the near future.
Amazon will deliver thousands of 15-minute home tests to those who have symptoms and have been quarantining themselves—and these tests will also be made to the public, The Guardian reports.
Prof. Sharon Peacock, the director of the national infection service at Public Health England said that the large-scale testing will be achievable by next week. The U.K. government has purchased 3.5 million tests and is buying millions more.
The test looks similar to a pregnancy test, but instead, it analyzes your blood by pricking your finger. Scientists at Oxford will first establish that it works as it should, then it will be made available to healthcare workers and then the public.
“Several million tests have been purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do,” Peacock said. “Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community.”
Amazon will distribute the tests, as well as chemist shops. When asked if they would be accessible in days, Peacock said, “Yes, absolutely.” She added that if people have to purchase them, it wouldn’t be expensive.
The fingerprick test provides results in 10 to 15 minutes, and could vastly impact response to the virus, allowing doctors and nurses to know whether or not they have COVID-19, and if they can go back to work.
The test identifies the IGM antibody, which appears early in the infection, and IGG, which elevates when the body responds to the virus. While some tests can be read by anyone, others will need to be studied by a professional. Other countries are also ordering antibody tests.
“Tests are being ordered across Europe and elsewhere and purchased in southeast Asia. This is widespread practice. We are not alone in doing this,” said Peacock.
Earlier this week, news surfaced that Oxford scientists have been working on a $25 coronavirus test that would produce results in 30 minutes. It’s unclear if these are the same tests that the U.K. will be using, but it’s believed that this test will be available in two to four weeks.
A U.S. company is also rolling out a home testing kit. Before ordering the test, customers will have to answer questions about their health. A doctor will prescribe the test based on whether the customer qualifies—and at $135, the kit is pricey.