In the UK, half a million rapid corona tests will come into circulation as of next week, showing within 90 minutes whether someone is infected or not. The British government announced this. Experts don’t want to cheer too quickly and see how everything goes.
The quick tests work double: they can also show whether a patient has the flu or just has a cold, which is useful for the winter months when a flu wave may come. “This can give us enormous benefits during the winter,” said British Health Minister Matt Hancock. “With a quick test result, we can immediately break a possible chain of infections.”
Currently in the UK it takes about 24 hours for the results of a test to be known, at least in three quarters of the cases. A quarter of the tests only show a result after two days, the BBC writes.
The new on-the-spot testing methods will be rolled out in rest and care homes and laboratories in the first phase. The tests come from the companies DnaNudge and Oxford Nanopore. They specialize in DNA analyzes using saliva or nose swabs. Thousands of DNA testing machines will be available across the UK (UK) in the coming weeks and months.
The first phase involves 450,000 tests, but by autumn it should be several million. In any case, the test capacity would be increased to 5.8 million, Enterprise Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on BBC Breakfast. According to him, the tests could also be used in schools.
The United Kingdom has been hit hard by the coronavirus, and with these new tests the government wants to reassure the population, especially now that alarming reports of new outbreaks have surfaced during this second wave, recently about Greater Manchester.
Last weekend, the British government is also said to have simulated a sudden outbreak in London. In such a scenario, the major M25 ring road would serve as a “quarantine ring”, as a barrier to completely closing off the city.
Amazement and criticism
Some British media respond with surprise to the government’s announcement: the tests are said to be hardly known. Experts therefore remain critical and adopt a wait-and-see attitude: first wait and then see how well everything works. For example, Jon Deeks, a professor at Birmingham University, said that during this pandemic, the government had often hastily bought tests based on sellers’ stories. They later turned out to be unsuitable for use.
Dame Anne Johnson of University College London told the BBC that those new tests are “very good news”, but the most important thing remains that people stay home as soon as they feel sick.
Sir Paul Nurse, one of the nation’s best-known scientists, criticized the way the government shields big decisions. “There needs to be more openness in making the decisions. And not just about this, but also about what’s happening. Treat people like adults,” he said.