- Home test kits indicating whether you have ever been infected with the coronavirus will soon be launched across the UK, MEPs were informed.
- Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said the group has developed simple fingerprint tests that may be available soon.
- The tests could be available in pharmacies and online retailers like Amazon once they have been tested by the UK authorities.
- However, the UK government chief physician said the testing process could significantly delay adoption.
- "The only thing worse than no test is a bad test," said British Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
- If the tests are effective, thousands of workers can return to normal life much earlier than expected.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
MEPs were informed that simple home test kits indicating whether someone had ever been infected with the coronavirus could soon be available in the UK.
Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, informed the UK Parliament on Wednesday that the group had developed fingerprint tests to determine whether a person had ever been infected with the virus.
After the launch, the public can buy the tests through services such as Amazon and pharmacies, Peacock said. Users run the pin prick test and then send the sample to a laboratory.
She said it would initially enable key workers, especially NHS workers, to return to work after their illness because they had developed immunity to the virus, but confirmed that they would soon be available to the wider population.
Peacock said the tests are currently being evaluated to confirm whether they will work, which will happen by the end of the week, after which "several million" will be rolled out across the country.
"Once we are certain that they will work, they will be rolled out to the community," Peacock told the Health & Science Select Committee on Wednesday.
"Testing the test is a trifle, and I expect it to be done by the end of this week.
"In the near future, people will be able to order a test that they can test themselves, or go to boots or a similar location to have their fingerprint test done."
When asked if she thought the tests would be ready within days instead of weeks, she said, "Definitely."
However, the UK medical advisors have downplayed the possibility of a quick rollout and have stated that they need to be properly tested first.
The UK government's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said at a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday that the full tests for the tests should first be completed.
"The only thing worse than no test is a bad test," said Whitty.
"I don't think so, and I want to make it clear that we will order this from the Internet in a few weeks."
"We have to go through the evaluation and then the first critical uses and then spread them from that point of view. We have to do it systematically."