Coronavirus testing is developing quickly. A new, quick, on-site test is now available. And Dr Hilary has given the new pilot his nod of approval.
The government approved six-week trial in Hampshire began on Thursday May 21.
The LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) swab test can be carried out on site.
It’s been rolled out in A&E departments, GP testing hubs and care homes in the county.
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Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Friday May 22, Dr Hilary announced the new test could be a “game-changer”.
He continued: “We think it’s going to be very accurate. It will tell people whether they haven’t got the virus and can carry on working and seeing patients.
“And whether they have, in which case they’ll need to self-iosolate, but they’ll be able to tell those people very quickly – it’s going to be a really important trial.”
Unlike the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which need to be processed at different temperatures, the LAMP test doesn’t require a change in temperature to detect results.
This means there’s no need for a thermal cycler – and the LAMP test results can be processed on site instead of being sent to a laboratory.
Following a successful clinical trial, should the LAMP test prove effective during this pilot it will be rolled out nationally.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This new test could provide accurate results almost on the spot.
“This will enable health and care workers to carry on with their shift or immediately isolate on the same day, and could eventually offer the same benefit to the whole country.”
He continued: “This could change the way that we control COVID-19 across the country, getting those with negative results back into society as quickly as possible.”
It’s planned that 4,000 people in Hampshire will be tested using this method.
Developed by UK manufacturer Optigene, the LAMP test will be used on people of all ages and backgrounds.
On site, trained health professionals will take a swab and process the results.
Rapid detection of who is infected with the virus means people testing positive for coronavirus can self-isolate the same day.
This would, hopefully, lead to a further decrease in the number of new infections.
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The trial is being led by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Chief Executive Alex Whitfield commented on its participation in saving lives.
He said: “We are tremendously excited to be able to support the government’s efforts for ever more accessible, faster coronavirus testing.
“That we are able to do so is a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of our entire microbiology department, from clinical scientists and the laboratory team to volunteers from academia and industry, as well as the staff on the wards.
“We are very much looking forward to the results of this trial and the benefits it will bring to the community we serve.”
Matt Hancock added: “I am hugely grateful for everyone in Hampshire for making this innovation possible.”
Everyone in the UK displaying coronavirus symptoms can now be tested via other means.
Symptoms of the disease include a new, continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste and smell.
The nose and throat swab test can be requested online here.
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