UK approves 20-second Covid-19 test - distributor

UK approves 20-second Covid-19 test - distributor

A sachet containing a Covid-19 self test from Roche is displayed in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Thursday. The Dutch Ministry of Health has approved two self-tests that allow people to test themselves for the coronavirus, Covid-19. In addition to the Roche test, the Biosynex test has also been approved. (Photo:AFP)
A sachet containing a Covid-19 self test from Roche is displayed in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Thursday. The Dutch Ministry of Health has approved two self-tests that allow people to test themselves for the coronavirus, Covid-19. In addition to the Roche test, the Biosynex test has also been approved. (Photo:AFP)

LONDON: Britain's medicine regulator has approved a 20-second Covid-19 test, the product's distributor said on Friday as it launched a testing system it said could be used in airports, sports venues and businesses.

The Virolens test, which is made by British start-up iAbra and TT Electronics, has been trialled at Heathrow Airport, and uses swabs of saliva.

Histate, which is distributing the test, said it would launch with immediate effect following the approval in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and was hoping for a further rollout in coming months.

Histate said trials had indicated the test had 98.1% sensitivity, meaning it returns few false negatives, and 99.7% specificity, meaning few false positives. 

Rapid tests are seen as a key plank of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, but concerns have been expressed about the accuracy of existing lateral flow devices.

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