Worried Brits may be able to find out if they have contracted coronavirus within just 15 minutes by pricking their finger at home.
Boffins at a UK lab say they have designed a quick and easy to use kit which will allow you to find out if you have the killer bug even if you don't show any symptoms.
And it costs just £125 plus VAT, according to the Echo.
Simply prick your finger and add three drops of the blood sample to a small screening device.
Within 15 minutes, the results will be shown through the appearance of up to three lines in the detection window of the device.
The screening results also provide information on the stage of Covid-19, identifying whether there has been recent exposure or later infection.
The test works by the screening of antibodies immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG).
IgM is the body’s largest antibody and is the first to appear in response to an initial exposure to an antigen (a toxin or other foreign substance), which induces an immune response in the body.
According to Alphabiolabs, it is "widely accepted" that IgM provides the first line of defence during viral infections, followed by the generation of adaptive, high-affinity IgG responses for long-term immunity and immunological memory.
Therefore, AlphaBiolabs said, the screening of Covid-19 IgM and IgG antibodies is an effective method for the rapid diagnosis of the infection.
The detection of IgM antibodies "tends to indicate a recent exposure to Covid-19". The detection of IgG antibodies indicates a later stage of infection.
AlphaBiolabs said it is entering the fight against the deadly outbreak with its finger-prick testing kit that is "fast and accurate".
A spokesman for the firm said the test can be performed by an individual or company health professional – and will show whether a person has the infection or not.
Unlike many other tests, the Warrington firm said, it can diagnose Covid-19 before symptoms appear.
AlphaBiolabs said the sample collection method used with this kit is less unpleasant than the nasopharyngeal method used widely elsewhere.
The company is now targeting businesses and organisations looking to screen their workforces.
David Thomas, managing director of AlphaBiolabs, said: “This rapid immunoassay-based test can detect the presence of a Covid-19 infection without using expensive private clinics or relying on an already-stretched NHS.
“Recent studies suggest that a high percentage of patients show no clinical symptoms, which is why the spread of coronavirus is creating major logistical and operational problems for businesses, with no way of predicting how long the pandemic will last or the impact it will have.
"Human resources teams are having to deal with the physical and emotional concerns of their staff while continuing to perform their duties in this climate of uncertainty.
“Immediate results are essential if employees need to be isolated or quarantined.”
He added: “Most companies are putting together plans to have employees working from home but, for many sectors this is not possible, such as distribution, warehousing, logistics or service businesses.
“As a testing services provider, we have been inundated by requests from our customers to help address the issue, as a lot of the advice currently available from government, health bodies and the media is very mixed.
“We are pleased to be able to respond to this demand by offering a fully-certificated European-registered device which can be used in a healthcare or commercial premises environment. We are proud to be the first UK laboratory equipped to process test results on a mass scale, although we have a limited supply of the kits available.”
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