Good Morning Britain’s resident doctor has warned that coronavirus testing kits could be dangerous and shouldn’t be sold to the public.
Dr. Hilary Jones said the new finger-prick kits, which can reveal whether you have had Covid-19, need to be completely accurate before they are made widely available.
It comes after it was revealed the Government had bought up 3.5 mn home tests so that people can check whether they have had the illness, and are therefore likely to have some immunity to it.
The tests are being developed by several different firms and Public Health England (PHE) is also working on its own test, but they still need to be validated to ensure they give accurate results.
Healthcare workers will be tested first before they are made available to the general public via Boots and Amazon.
However, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty last night admitted it was unlikely that they would be something we’d be ordering on the internet next week.
He added, The one thing that is worse than no test is a bad test.
Dr. Hilary agreed with Prof Whitty, telling GMB host Kate Garraway that the kits shouldn’t be sold online or in the shops just yet as they could do more harm than good.
He warned – If we have this test they have to be really accurate and specific. There’s no point in having unreliable tests.
I hope there won’t be made available on Amazon and Boots to buy. They need to be used by health care professionals first.
Boots has also urged people not to go into its stores looking for the tests.
What are antibody tests?
Antibody tests are a finger-prick blood test, with the samples sent to laboratories and results available within a few days.
The body produces antibodies when it fights infection and the test measures the presence of these antibodies in the blood.
Anyone who has already had Covid-19 is presumed to be immune to getting it again. There have been reports of people being reinfected, but these are rare.
How does it work?
Dr. Hilary also demonstrated how the tests work on Good Morning Britain today.
He explained that it’s almost like a pregnancy test, except you need a drop of blood.
Dr. Hilary said that a blood droplet goes into the well a small hole at the bottom followed by two drops of buffer solution.
He continued, This migrates up the filter to chemicals which create something called an immunoassay.
It’s looking for particles that come from the virus.
Pointing to the letter C on the side of the test, Dr. Hilary explained that it stands for the word control.
There is a little red line next to the C mark, that’s a control, which is a valid test and means the test has worked.