Inexpensive DIY covid-19 home test kit will be available soon

Finger-prick test can accurately detect novel coronavirus in 10 minutes

blood-test-nurse-samples-blood-test-lab--shut Representational image

A finger-prick 'antibody test' that quickly identifies if someone has been infected with coronavirus will be available ‘within days’ from Amazon, says the UK government.

COVID-19 rapid test manufactured by Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics identifies the human body’s response to novel coronavirus after infection, and gives a result within 10 minutes.

Believed to be a game-changer, £6 DIY finger-prick covid-19 test with near 100 percent accuracy can be done at home by themselves. The test can work only for patients who have been infected with coronavirus for three days or more.

Suspected patients can use the finger prick to extract a blood sample, put it into a screening device and know the result quickly without going to hospital. Currently, testing patients for coronavirus can be done only in hospital with nasal swabs extracts.

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England (PHE), told the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons that the people will be able to carry out coronavirus antibody tests at home "within days."

Since this test kit checks someone has antibodies in the blood, it can diagnose if the person has been infected with novel coronavirus. However, it cannot show whether they have already recovered from it, because the antibodies will remain in the body at detectable level for more than a month. By counting the antibodies’ presence in the blood, doctors can know whether someone has had the infection previously.

The antibodies formed against the virus stay in the bloodstream for long time—months, even years after they recover. Since the body system has learned to produce the antibodies against the virus, it can replicate the process anytime and the patient will remain immune to the disease.

Covid-19 symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear so it is difficult to know if someone has been infected ahead of these conditions appearing. In the meantime, infected people can spread the virus unknowingly. Early screening of every person is the only way to determine if a person has Covid-19.

SureScreen says it can supply half a million test kits a week to quickly screen as many people as possible in a day since confirming the disease rapidly could help stem the spread of coronavirus.

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