Boots to offer 12-minute Covid nasal swab test
A Covid test that can provide a result in 12 minutes will be made available at high street pharmacy Boots.
The nasal swab test, which will cost £120, will be available in selected stores in the UK to people who are not showing symptoms.
The company says the aim is to offer customers peace of mind.
Anyone in the UK who thinks they have symptoms should stay at home and contact the NHS to book a Covid test in the usual way.
The technology has been developed by LumiraDx, which has also struck a deal to provide supplies to the NHS in Scotland.
Trials suggest it is accurate enough to identify cases, although, like any Covid test, there are some false results meaning they are not 100% reliable.
The Lumira tests, due to launch at 50 Boots stores in November, take minutes to give a result, analysing a nose swab sample on the spot, via a small, portable machine.
Anyone who tests positive should then isolate to avoid spreading the infection to others.
Other rapid tests, which give results within 90 minutes, are also being trialled by the NHS.
Prof Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia said while the test could give peace of mind at the time it was taken: "A negative test today tells you nothing really about whether you are going to be positive a day or two later."
Speedy and comprehensive testing is thought vital to efforts to contain the second wave of the virus while the world waits for an effective vaccine.
But figures released last week showed that just 15.1% of people are currently receiving results within 24 hours through the official system in place in the UK.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, admitted there was "room for improvement" in the NHS Test and Trace system.
Boris Johnson previously pledged that all tests would be processed within 24 hours - unless there were issues with postal tests - by the end of June.
Research suggests that on average people develop symptoms of Covid 5.1 days after they were infected.
While a small proportion develop symptoms within three days, others may take nearly two weeks to become ill.