Coronavirus home test kit: How does it work and when can you buy them from Boots and Amazon?

27 March 2020, 10:08

When can you buy the new coronavirus test kit?
When can you buy the new coronavirus test kit? Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Covid-19 home test kits are on the way and could be sold in Boots and delivered by Amazon from as early as next week, how do they work and when can you buy them?

According to the director of Public Health England coronavirus home test kits could soon be on sale within the UK

The test are said to be able to diagnose Covid-19 infection as quickly as 15 minutes.

Here's everything we know about the new coronavirus home testing kits:

The tests are likely to look like a pregnancy test
The tests are likely to look like a pregnancy test. Picture: PA

How do coronavirus home test kits work?

The new Covid-19 test work by pricking your finger, and then detecting antibodies to see if you have been infected with the Sars-CoV2 virus which causes Covid-19.

Once you have pricked your finger and placed a drop of blood on the test it then detects if you have antibodies in your blood that show your immune system has responded to the coronavirus.

This means it will not be able to tell if you currently have the virus, but will work for people who have had symptoms and recovered meaning they will know they are no longer infection and will be able to return to work.

While there are some reports of reinfections, they are rare, most people are usually immune to the virus once they have had it.

Can you buy coronavirus home test kits on Amazon and Boots?

Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said the tests could be "distributed to the community" via retailers like Amazon or chemists such as Boots as early as next week.

But, the government has said key workers will come first – they will be delivered by Amazon and also be available in high-street chemist shops.

How much are coronavirus home test kits?

The kits are currently being tested to ensure they work correctly. Some experts have said the testing phase could be completed by the end of the week.

There's currently no word on how much the kits will cost, but if there is a cost, it is expected to be minimal.

In a statement to the UK government's Science and Technology Committee, Professor Peacock said:

"In the near future people will be able to order a test that they can test themselves, or go to Boots, or somewhere similar to have their finger prick test done.

“Several million tests have been purchased for use. These are brand new products. We have to be clear they work as they are claimed to do.

“Once they have been tested this week and the bulk of tests arrive, they will be distributed into the community.”