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Government advises against coronavirus home testing kits

The Government has warned against the use of self-testing kits for coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Department of Health and social care said in a bulletin that some manufacturers are selling products for the diagnosis of Covid-19 infection in community settings, such as pharmacies.

But it said the current view of Public Health England is that these tests are not advised.

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The DHSC said:

  • some of these products look for virus while others look for the body’s immune response to the virus. Such tests are very rapid and can work on a range of specimens including serum, plasma or finger-prick whole blood;
  • there is little information on the accuracy of the tests, or on how a patient’s antibody response develops or changes during Covid-19 infection. It is not known whether either a positive or negative result is reliable;
  • currently there is no published evidence about the suitability of these tests for diagnosing Covid-19 infection in a community setting.

To date, NHS testing has uncovered 1,391 cases of Covid-19 but the Government has said the real figure is likely to be in the tens of thousands. 

NHS England labs are working flat out to test patients with supected coronavirus and the Goverment announced on Thursday it would now stop community testing and focus only on seriously ill patients in hospital.