Britain has approved a rapid
UK start-up iAbra said the Virolens test was given approval by the country’s medical regulator after it was trialled at Heathrow Airport.
The company hopes to roll it out more widely in the coming months as the UK comes out of
The test involves a saliva swab of the inner-cheeks, unlike the more commonly used nose and tonsil swabs, which can be uncomfortable.
Swabs are inserted into the coffee machine-sized Virolens device, which scours the sample for Covid. Inside the machine is a digital camera attached to a microscope that examines the sample and runs it through a computer programmed to spot the virus.
Users take their own sample and only one trained person is needed to operate the machine. Each screening device is capable of carrying out hundreds of tests per day.
Histate, the company distributing the test, claims it is the most accurate rapid kit on the market, spotting 98 per cent of Covid-positive people.
Britain has approved a rapid coronavirus test that gives a result in just 20 seconds, made by UK start-up iAbra
The firm said the Virolens test was given approval by the country’s medical regulator after it was trailled at Heathrow Airport
The test was believed to have been trialled at Heathrow and its performance was compared to the gold-standard PCR tests.
MailOnline has contacted the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for comment.
Histate director Joss Bassett told City AM: ‘British designed and built, this new test shows that the UK can continue to play a major part in the global fight against Covid-19 and help to get the world moving again.
‘The speed of the test, alongside the vaccine rollout, brings a return to normality within tangible reach, making the reopening of the economy and tourism safer for everyone.’
The device is manufactured in Hartlepool, in the North East, by a listed UK company, TT Electronics, which is valued at £439million.
Boris Johnson has put rapid coronavirus testing at the heart of his lockdown-easing plans, with hundreds of thousands already administered every day in schools. They are also deployed in care homes, hospitals, and across businesses.
They are viewed as a way of getting more employees back to work and punters back at live sporting events.
Known more generally as lateral flow devices, the rapid tests have divided scientific opinion, which some claiming they are not accurate enough to be relied on and miss too many infectious people.
A major Cochrane review published this week found the devices miss four in 10 asymptomatic people.
Researchers who analysed 64 studies of the effectiveness of lateral flow kits found they failed to detect 42 per cent of cases who didn’t show signs of illness.
The review found the tests were better at catching symptomatic cases (78 per cent).
The findings caused concern among some scientists because it’s thought that at least half of Covid transmission comes from patients who seem well.
Children are even less likely to fall ill with coronavirus but can still act as spreaders of the disease.
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