Boots is set to launch a coronavirus testing service offering results in minutes after trials showed 97 per cent accuracy, it has been reported.
The High Street chemist’s new service reveals whether someone has Covid-19 within 12 minutes and should be available in two weeks – while an alternative is being offered from Monday offering results in 48 hours.
The health and beauty chain is hopeful 200 stores will have the test – to initially cost £120 – ready by Christmas with CEO Sebastian James stating it is the first step towards easy access mass testing.
But the company has been quick to point out those who fear they may have coronavirus to go to an NHS testing station, as their private tests are simply aimed at those who have no symptoms and want peace of mind.
The tests are done via portable devices from US firm Lumira that quickly analyse swabs.
Mr James said the new service is not about making profit and the price will only cover costs for the major outlay of kit needed.
But he admitted the hefty price could be quickly brought down if there is enough demand, while stores will also be installing ‘consultation rooms’.
“I’m hoping lots of people will want to do it and if they do, then we can make the price more accessible,” he told the Daily Mail, adding: “We believe we are the cheapest private test.”
“Once it becomes more accessible in terms of cost it could be a very important weapon in the armoury against Covid,” said Mr James.
An initial 10 branches in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow will offer the 48-hour tests from this week and 50 will be added next month as the waiting time is slashed.
The service is more expensive than the rapid £80 tests offered to passengers prio to some routes from Heathrow.
It is more expensive than the airport service for passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong, who can opt to pay for a rapid Covid-19 tests at £80.
Boots is already carrying out tests for passengers travelling to the UAE and is in talks with other airlines.
Customers can book through an online app.
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