A NEW “do it yourself” coronavirus saliva test is to be piloted this week and could be the first step towards mass testing for Covid-19.
The “no swab” weekly testing model is being rolled out in Southampton and participants will be asked to take the test at home.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
In order to take the test people will have to put their saliva into a sample pot which will then be tested for current infections of the virus.
Tests kits will be delivered to home addresses or places of work for participants to complete each week.
Samples will then either be collected by University of Southampton staff or participants will have to return them to an agreed location.
Participants will get their results back within a 48 hour time period.
Essential key workers, GP staff, university employees and members of their households will be the first group to take part in the trial run.
Unlike other coronavirus tests, the new pilot does not use a swab test – which some participating in other trial runs have said are uncomfortable.
The new test is set to be significant in increasing testing capacity as well increasing availability.
Before being rolled out to the pilot stage the test had already shown to be highly promising and the pilot will look at how the test compares to that of nasal swabs.
The frequency of the testing scheme will help identify cases early on and it is likely to help stop the spread of the virus.
If a person tests positive the results will be shared in conjunction with the NHS Test and Trace programme.
This way people who have been in contact with an infected person will then be able to self isolate.
The pilot scheme will run alongside routine testing of asymptomatic staff in health and care settings.
The pilot will be run for four weeks and is being led by the NHS, Southampton City Council and the University of Southampton.
The department for Health and Social Care said it was also exploring other no-swab saliva tests.
It said it was working with a variety of companies to develop “bespoke” saliva collection kits.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Saliva testing could potentially make it even easier for people to take coronavirus tests at home, without having to use swabs. This trial will also help us learn if routine, at-home testing could pick up cases of the virus earlier.
“I am very grateful to everyone involved in the trial who is helping us develop our understanding of the virus which will benefit not only our but the global response to it.”
Most read in Health News
Boy, 6, 'killed in dad's care' was living with him after mum jailed for murder
What you can & can't do now – and PM's plans to lift rules this week
2nd Reading terror victim, 39, is American & teacher's pal as dad blasts death
'HE DID IT'
Maddie suspect’s best pal says he is guilty & may have sold her to 'sex ring'
FREED TO KILL
Terror suspect on MI5 radar planned to go to Syria & left prison 16 days ago
Nurse, 22, and boyfriend, 24, die as Audi hits tree and bursts into flames
The department also added that it would be “scaling up” manufacturing for products that can be used with existing nasal swab tests.
Southampton City Council Director of Public Health, Debbie Chase said that Southampton’s 800-strong GP practice workforce and their households will take part first, followed by other essential key workers as logistics are evaluated for testing large population groups.
Professor Keith Godfrey from the University of Southampton added that the health, social and economic impacts of lockdown cannot be underestimated.
“Through this initiative we believe we can contribute to safely restoring economic activity within the city and region during national relaxation measures, whilst enabling people to regain their lives, work and education.”
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.
To receive The Sun’s Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply ‘Like’ our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain’s best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.