Plans are said to have been drawn up for coronavirus testing kits to be delivered to UK homes by Amazon.
The Times says the company is starting a pilot program ‘using Amazon logistics’ which will deliver throat swabs that are picked up one hour after a sample has been taken.
Text messages will deliver the results, with the whole process aiming to wrap in less than 48 hours. The paper said the test was different from attempts to create a home test that shows antibodies to coronavirus. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care did not confirm the report and neither did Amazon’s press office when contacted.
It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock prepares to face questions from MPs on Friday over the Government’s coronavirus response, a day after lockdown measures were extended for at least another three weeks.
Mr Hancock is expected to be quizzed on personal protective equipment (PPE) and an exit strategy as he appears before a virtual session of the Commons Health Committee.
Meanwhile, the body which represents NHS biomedical scientists has said its members are still being held back from ramping up coronavirus testing by a lack of kits, not a lack of capacity.
The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) said NHS labs were still struggling to source kits and reagents, and cast doubt on the ability to reach Mr Hancock’s end-of-the-month target of 100,000 tests a day.
For all the latest news and updates on Coronavirus, click here.
For our Coronavirus live blog click here.
The body also warned new mega-labs set up by the Government may end up competing with established NHS labs.
Downing Street said on Thursday the UK now has the capacity to conduct 35,000 coronavirus tests a day – although fewer than half that number are currently being carried out.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that in the 24 hours up to 9am on Wednesday, 15,994 tests were carried out across England, Scotland and Wales.
Total testing capacity includes 20,771 in public facilities and a further 14,300 through commercial testing facilities.
‘We have been very clear that where there is spare capacity available that should be used on NHS staff, on their families, and in social care,’ the spokesman said.
IBMS president Allan Wilson said the issue within NHS labs was not capacity, but a lack of kits.
‘The 17,000 NHS laboratory workers that I represent are increasingly expressing their frustration,’ he said in a statement.
‘They have applied themselves innovatively to increase Covid-19 testing capacity and have the platforms ready so that the NHS laboratories are able to meet the Secretary of State’s ambitious target, but they are still not able to source the testing kits and reagents they require.
‘It concerns me when I see significant investments being made in mass testing centres that are planning to conduct 75,000 of the 100,000 tests a day.
‘These facilities would be a welcome resource and take pressure off the NHS if the issue around testing was one of capacity.
‘However, we are clear that it is a global supply shortage holding biomedical scientists back, not a lack of capacity.’
Mr Wilson said there was concern mass testing centres ‘may only serve to increase competition for what are already scarce supplies’.
He said NHS testing numbers could fall if laboratories were competing with big testing centres for Covid-19 testing kits and reagents ‘in a Wild West testing scenario’.
He added: ‘The UK must avoid this for the sake of patient safety.
‘It is clear that two testing streams now exist: one delivered by highly qualified and experienced Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered biomedical scientists working in heavily regulated United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) accredited laboratories, the other delivered mainly by volunteer unregistered staff in unaccredited laboratories that have been established within a few weeks.’
He said the IBMS had not been involved in ‘assuring the quality of the testing centres and are now being kept at arm’s length from their processes, even when they exist close to large NHS laboratories’.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Coronavirus latest news and updates
- Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live
- Read all new and breaking stories on our Covid-19 news page
- Coronavirus symptoms explained
- Find out the latest on which shops can stay open in a lockdown
- Who needs to go to work, who needs to stay at home and who is classed as a key worker?
Source: Read Full Article